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Carol Black on Twitter: "I'm sorry, but this is delusional. If you don't read the book the first time for rhythm and flow, just *read* it, you haven't read the book. You have dissected it. This is like the vivisection of literature. There is no author ali
"I'm sorry, but this is delusional. If you don't read the book the first time for rhythm and flow, just *read* it, you haven't read the book. You have dissected it. This is like the vivisection of literature. There is no author alive who would want their book read this way."



"Look, the reality is that most people do not want to analyze literature. It's a specialty interest, a niche thing. There is absolutely no reason all people should have to do this. By forcing it we just create an aversion to books.

[@SOLEatHome "Would you consider someone re-reading a book they love and noticing things they missed the first time analysis? It at least fits what has come to be known as "close reading""]

Kids who become writers (or filmmakers, or musicians) re-read, re-watch, re-listen to their favorite things repetitively, obsessively. They internalize structure, rhythm, characterization, language, vocabulary, dialogue, intuitively, instinctively.

Close reading & analysis is a separate activity, it requires a whole different stance / attitude toward the book. It can enhance this deeper intuitive understanding or it can shut it down, turn it into something mechanical & disengaged.

I think it's a huge mistake to push this analytical stance on children when they are too young. I was an English major, & I don't think I benefited from it until college. Younger kids should just find things they love & process them in ways that make sense to them.

This is one of the many delusional things about the way literature is taught in HS. The reality is you have to read a book at the *bare minimum* twice in order to do meaningful analysis. But there is never time for this. So we just club the thing to death on the first reading.

One of the principal things a writer does is to work incredibly hard at refining the way one sentence flows into the next, one chapter springboards off the last. To experience this as a reader you have to immerse yourself, turn off the analytical brain, just *read* the damn book.

To insert analysis into this process on a first reading is like watching a film by pausing every couple of minutes to make notes before continuing. It's fine to do that in later study, but if you do it the first time through you've destroyed everything the filmmaker worked for."

[@irasocol: How a teacher destroys not just reading but culture. Can we let kids experience an author's work without dissection? How I tried to address this in 2012... http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2012/11/why-do-we-read-why-do-we-write.html "]



[This was in repsonse to a thread that began with:
https://twitter.com/SOLEatHome/status/1053338882496958465

"This thread details a real school assignment that was asked of a high school student to do while reading a book they hadn't read before. I assure you this is is not something isolated to one school:

Annotate.

Inside front cover: major character with space for...

...character summaries, page reference for key scenes or moments of character development. Evidently these are enormous books.

Inside Back Cover: list of themes, allusions, images, motifs, key scenes, plot line, epiphanies, etc. Add pg. references or notes. List vocab words...

...if there's still room. (big books or small writing?)

Start of each chapter: do a quick summary of the chapter. Title each chapter as soon as you finish it, esp. if the chapters don't have titles.

Top margins: plot notes/words phrases that summarize. Then go back...

...and mark the chapter carefully (more on these marks to come)

Bottom and side margins: interpretive notes, questions, remarks that refer to the meaning of the page (???). Notes to tie in w/ notes on inside back cover

Header: Interpretive notes and symbols to be used...

...underline or highlight key words, phrases, sentences that are important to understanding the work
questions/comments in the margins--your conversation with the text
bracket important ideas/passages
use vertical lines at the margin to emphasize what's been already marked...

...connect ideas with lines or arrows
use numbers in the margin to indicate the sequence of points the author makes in developing a single argument
use a star, asterisk, or other doo-dad at the margin--use a consistent symbol--(presumably to not mix up your doo-dads?) to...

...be used sparingly to emphasize the ten or twenty most important statements in the book.
Use ???for sections/ideas you don't understand
circle words you don't know. Define them in the margins (How many margins does a page have?)
A checkmark means "I understand"...

...use !!! when you come across something new, interesting or surprising
And other literary devices (see below)

You may want to mark:
Use and S for Symbols: a symbol is a literal thing that stands for something else which help to discover new layers of thinking...

Use an I for Imagery, which includes words that appeal to the five senses. Imagery is important for understanding an authors message and attitudes
Use an F for Figurative Language like similes, metaphors, etc., which often reveal deeper layers of meaning...

Use a T for Tone, which is the overall mood of the piece. Tone can carry as much meaning as the plot does.
Use a Th for Theme: timeless universal ideas or a message about life, society, etc.
Plot elements (setting, mood, conflict)
Diction (word choice)

The end. ::sighs::"]
carolblack  irasocol  howweread  reading  literature  closereading  2018  school  schooliness  education  absurdity  literaryanalysis  writers  writing  howwewrite  filmmaking  howwelearn  academia  academics  schools  unschooling  deschooling  analysis  understanding  repetition  experience  structure  rhythm  characterization  language  vocabulary  dialogue  noticing  intuition  instinct  film  flow 
october 2018 by robertogreco
How Will You Redesign Your School Over The Next Six Months?
"I was talking with architects from the AIA’s Committee for Architecture for Education last week, discussing — along with my superintendent — our school system philosophy of the intersection of space design, technology, and pedagogy. And at the end Karina Ruiz — a West Coast school designer — asked,
“But what if educators don’t have a building project right now?”

And I paused. We had been talking about our journey from opening up a few walls to building truly flexible spaces, from offering kids seating and writing choices to a move toward eliminating single-teacher classrooms, but our presentation was, indeed, geared toward building.

“Everybody always has a building project,” I finally said.

Because every school should be changing all the time. And should be changing with a purpose — moving from adult centered teaching spaces to child centered learning spaces — moving from static environments to flexible environments — moving from controlling design to inspiring design.

Every school needs a building project every year, because you don’t need contractors and bulldozers to change a school environment — you just need commitment.

So if you can’t do the expensive stuff — you can still do the effective stuff. So here are four things you can do to change your school’s space.

One: Give your kids the gift of daylight.

Walk into many classrooms and you’ll see the windowsills piled high with stuff — often adult stuff. You also may see shades or blinds pulled down.

Well, in order to maintain healthy attention kids need three things that are often in short supply in schools — fresh air, large muscle movement, and daylight. One of the easiest to fix, in many schools, is daylight.

Open those blinds and shades. If it’s not a lockdown or the sun blazing in full bore, open them and keep them open. Limit anything on the windows that obstructs the view — kids benefit from being able to see where they are on the earth.

Now clear off those windowsills. That’s not a storage spot — it’s a prime place for children. Make it easy to sit there, make it comfortable.

If you just do this in every classroom you will have rebuilt your school. Attention will go up, discipline problems will go down. Guaranteed.

Two: Get rid of teacher desks.

Or at least dramatically shrink the space teachers claim for themselves.

Listen — when I observe a classroom I really don’t look at the teacher, I watch kids, listen to kids, look for the variety of what kids are doing and how they are doing it — but — an opening ‘fail’ is walking into any classroom and seeing a teacher sitting at their teacher desk. Why would any teacher separate themselves from their students like that?

The teacher’s desk is an ugly remnant of a time when uninvolved teachers led ineffective classes, they really need to vanish. But if they cannot vanish completely, they need to become small spots used for effective one-on-one or one-on-two conversations. Storage can be in one modest-size cabinet against a wall.

If you want to increase learning space, you get rid of space used for — well, something else.

Walking a middle school a year ago with the principal we came across one classroom where the teacher had built — essentially — a tiny house, and a tiny house blocking student access to half of the room’s windows. Looking at the ceiling grid I noted that this teacher had carved out an 8x16–128 square foot living room. There was a presidential-size desk, a pseudo oriental rug, book cases, a coffee maker, and all kinds of personal images: 16% of the classroom space was walled off from kids.


That’s extreme but it’s not that unusual, and it needs to stop. Classrooms belong to children.

So get rid of teacher desks. Or at least shrink them and push them completely away from the windows. In every classroom.

Your school will see it’s learning space increase by 10%.

Three: Keep all of your classroom doors open.

Easy, right? No cost, no moving anything. But transformational.

The most obvious way to build transparency and openness into your educational environment is to open classroom doors and create the notion of ‘the commons.’ Opening doors will make your school noisier and more active. It will convert corridors from waste space to instructional space. It will allow kids who need a different kind of space to have it and yet — remain supervised.

Obviously it will do something else. The talk we gave to the architects was titled “Space that forces change — Change that forces space.” Opening doors will make your teachers change what they do. Noisier environments mean that teacher voice must change. You can’t really yell over it, you have to talk under it, and thus move away from mass instruction.

It does one more key thing — it reveals great teaching and encourages teachers who struggle to collaborate with those great teachers.

So make this an absolute rule: classroom doors stay open.

Four: Let kids sit where they want, if they want.

We have this saying, “a kid can’t walk into any classroom, kindergarten through 12th grade, and choose where, how, or if to sit — we aren’t teaching them to make decisions, which means we aren’t teaching them very much at all.”

This is important. The act of controlling seating, like the act of controlling toilet use, or food and drink, is an act which shatters the possibility of real trust between teachers and children. It’s an act which prevents children from learning how to define their own work environment (If you’d like — it’s an act that leads directly to failure in the first year of college.) It’s also an act which makes the classroom a fight, for you have created rules that work against child learning and a rule that makes no sense to kids.

So stop doing it. Eliminate the rule across the school. Focus on comfort and good choices instead of compliance. Use phrases like, “wouldn’t you be more comfortable standing up? [lying down? by the window? sitting in the hall?]” Or even, “is that space working for you?”

Another guarantee — the entire mood of your school will change.

There. Four ‘quick fixes.’ Quick but not easy. Instead of sledge hammers you’ll need full admin support and peer pressure. You’ll want to document and talk about the changes. You’ll need to see where the design needs tweaking. And most of all, you’ll need patience.

Rebuilding a school creates mess at first. Your kids will need time to learn new patterns — and learn how to make good choices. That’s why these are six month construction projects. Three months to plan and get consensus. Three more to make it work."
irasocol  2017  schools  education  change  adaptability  flexibility  schooldesign  sfsh  furniture  doors  desks  light  seating 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Real Maker – Ira David Socol – Medium
"I’m not much of a fan of what folks call “Project-Based Learning.” What is sold by places like the Buck Institute is, yes — OK, a step away from school-as-totally-boring, but it is not a step toward student-centered learning, nor toward student agency, nor toward the target of intrinsically motivated children.

So, if work on “Project-Based Learning” comes with a warning sticker that says, “CAUTION: This program does not provide a destination, but only a baby steps toward making your school less miserable” — go for it. But understand that “less miserable for kids” should not be your School Improvement Goal.

Where I work we see this continuum. “Project-Based” adds context to content and helps, yes, but it remains entirely teacher determined education. “Problem-Based” adds critical thinking and perhaps creativity, and begins to break down teacher absolutism. “Passion-Based” puts kids and their interests at the center and changes “teachers” into “educators” who are resourcers, advisors, and supporters.

When we reach Passion-Based Learning we are adding content to context, taking the natural curiosity and interests of kids and making education conform to those individual dreams.

Then we offer the next step — Maker Learning. Maker Learning assumes that children create most of the ecosystem around them. They determine not just curricular context but time and space. High school girls see engineering education as taking place in a bridge building project where a stream interrupts a walking trail. Middle school kids see natural science education happening via a high altitude balloon project. A second grader rejects classroom math instruction and designs both a video game and the physical controller for it.

“I look for whatever the ‘spark’ is,” one of our Learning Technology Integrators said last week. “Whatever the kid says, “this interests me — excites me,” and then we’ll build around that. This year he has rural kids deep into stream rainwater analysis via Arduino- controlled sensors; high school kids, elementary school kids, all working together.

“What I want,” the principal of our largest elementary school told me last week, “is for everyone on my faculty to be the expert on something. Our kids would have homeroom teachers as advisors and supporters, but then they’d spend most of the day going to wherever they needed to work on their projects.” And that would be a true maker school — a school developing truly successful, happy humans in adulthood.

Real Maker doesn’t come from kits or recipes. It isn’t learned by attending a one day lecture. You can’t buy it on Amazon.

Real Maker is an attitude toward children — an attitude toward childhood and adolescence. It begins with trust in kids, requires giving up control, requires that we stop saying “but…” and making excuses, requires that we understand that learning is messy and inefficient, requires that we learn to say, “ I don’t know” a lot — and add the phrase, “how can I help you find out?” to that.

Real Maker requires that you challenge yourself and your understandings of time, of space, of behavior, even-yes, of what student safety means.

Can you actually embrace Maker Education? Will you?"
children  education  learning  unschooling  deschooling  irasocol  2017  making  projectbasedlearning  passion-basedlearning  technology  makers  pedagogy  howweteach  howwelearn  curiosity  sfsh  goals  intrinsicmotivation  student-centeredlearning  agency  cv  tcsnmy 
april 2017 by robertogreco
“It’s a good school, of course, but…” — The Synapse — Medium
"And if your school is “good” because it doesn’t undo the born-in advantages of its students, it is not “good” at all, but simply a fairly efficient day care operation.

Allow me to step back for a moment — I said above that we meant rich white schools 95% of the time, but let’s look at the other 5%. In those cases we mean ‘compliance academies’ — African-American and Latino kids marching in straight lines wearing uniforms and being routinely humiliated for any violation of whiteness expectations. Whether KIPP or Success Academies or the all-minority school in your neighborhood, these are the contemporary equivalent of British colonial schools or American Indian Schools. They are “good” because they are more under control than the terrible public schools most big cities offer their poor, and because whites imagine that Black boys taught to march in step will be less of a threat on the street.

And if that is “good” we are very much the miserable racists we seem to be.

So, if our definition of “good schools” is painfully illusory, what might we measure to find “good”?

A Few Metrics

Is choice expected? More than a few times visitors to our Albemarle County high schools ask, “so kids are allowed to eat anywhere?” To which I tend to always reply, “of course.” When that conversation extends the objections people bring up tend to sound — to me — as if they think their school is filled with especially sloppy animals. Which is weird, except that kids will always drop to the level of your expectations.

I toured a new high school in Washington, DC once where the teachers had pulled all the new comfortable furniture from student spaces and hidden it in faculty offices — ”the kids,” an Assistant Principal assured us, “don’t know how to use this furniture.” “They don’t know how to use chairs and couches?” I asked. He ignored my question.

To me choice equals trust. And I have never seen a school where kids were really learning anything that didn’t involve a hell of a lot of mutual trust between kids and adults.

I ‘measure’ a few things. How many kids are in the hallways during class time? is one. Kids in the hallways means that kids are trusted — are trusted to be on their own, are trusted to go where they need to go — whether that’s the library, our mechatronics labs, or wherever. Are kids in classrooms sitting or standing in lots of different ways? Really, very few kids are comfortable in classroom chairs, and when kids are uncomfortable they’re focused only on discomfort. We made a rule a few years ago that we’d never buy less than three kinds of seating and worksurfaces for any learning space, but even where we’ve managed to refurnish, kids need to learn to create their best environment. If you don’t let kids choose how, where, or if to sit you are failing to help them prepare for life, and it is not “good.”

Choice in technologies? Are kids using phones? Do they get to really control the one-to-one devices you give them? (Download, add software, change the interface) Are kids in a class using different software or web tools/sites to work? “These are personal learning devices,” my boss Vince Scheivert is fond of saying, “if they can’t personalize them, they aren’t that.”

It is essential — in this century — that kids learn to use the tools of their lifespans, and your kids are going to live their lives in the mid to late 21st Century. Whine all you want about the good ol’ days on your own time, but if you are working in education you must be modeling, you must be helping children learn to live well by making good technological choices. They cannot do that, your school is not “good,” if you ban, lock down, and tightly direct technology use.

A library with a lot of noise, collaboration, tools. About seven years ago I heard it said that, “in this century a library had to become the community kitchen, and stop being a supermarket.” Around that time I stumbled into that Fifth Avenue, New York Apple Store at 2.00 am and came to the conclusion that this century’s libraries needed to be community centers for contagious creativity. The point being that the world needed very few libraries with massive collections, after all Google was already scanning the entirety of the University of Michigan, Harvard, and New York Public Library, creating the incredible database of the world’s words. For ten years already schools I worked in had been using Fordham University’s Ancient History Sourcebook to connect kids to history. We needed our libraries to have tools kids wouldn’t find at home or in classrooms. We needed space for kids to gather, to process information together, to make things, to create.

Our libraries have tools, 3D printers, music construction studios, zones for writing, microcomputers, one has a laser cutter. They are the active academic core of our schools, crowded and noisy and full of invention — though yes, we create quieter zones as well, and rooms for teams to work in.

If your library is not a place that works for today, your school has a problem.

The Corridor Climate supports all kids. I often tell the story of working in two neighboring high schools. One was small (about 300 kids), and was always near the top of the state in test results. The other was large (2,700), far more diverse, with many more “challenges.”

The small school was a brutal place, with constant bullying by kids and teachers. The big school felt very safe for most everyone.

The big one created safety many ways, but it began in the corridors which were carpeted for sound control, had very wide stairways and doorways to eliminate passing time crush points, and had teachers standing outside every classroom doorway during passing times, constantly interacting with kids. The small school had none of that. The big school also gave kids 10 minutes between classes, a long enough time that the typical pressure we see disappeared.
Time, sound control, relationships in action. Those are things you can do. Here’s a test, if SpEd kids sometimes need to leave classes early in order to change classes safely, your school is, by definition, unsafe. And kids made unsafe in your corridors will do badly. In life if not academically.

Remember, ending bullying is all about adult behaviors. Kids imitate adults.

Kids are taking risks, teachers are taking risks. Risk is how we grow. Risk is the essential modus operandi of both childhood and adolescence. If I walk a school and I don’t see kids taking risks, in class, in the library, on the playground, in the halls, I know we have a school that is fighting that essential mode. And that can’t be a good school. But kids won’t take risks unless teachers and administrators are daily risk takers. The teacher who repeats last year’s lesson almost exactly is a problem that needs to be addressed. The teacher whose classroom always looks the same is a problem. And the administrators who don’t encourage and demonstrate risk taking are a problem.

When schools squelch risktaking they stop being educational institutions and become, simply, institutions.

Now, go back over the past year. How does your school do when you change your measuring sticks? “Good” cannot be about either socioeconomics or compliance. “Good” has to be about kids growing, about every kid being ok, about every kid learning the tools and environments they will live in.

In the end, you know. A really good school doesn’t end with a “but…” or a “just…” or a wish that kids would all come even if they didn’t have to."
2016  irasocol  choice  schools  sfsh  openstudioproject  lcproject  libraries  technology  edtech  risktaking  teaching  learning  education  schooldesign  safety  bullying  behavior  making  diversity 
july 2016 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: those who think less of Dyslexics while claiming to love them...
"OK, if you've watched you will say that he is a Dyslexic, so how can he think less of Dyslexics? Well, its confusing. He's a Dyslexic but really he's a missionary. He is not doing research, he is taking a personal experience and selling it to all as a "personal (and universal) savior." It is not just that he gets the science wrong - though he is right about "thinking in pictures" for many, but he is far off at thinking its about a visual processing issue... but that's not the problem. For many dyslexics reversals and upside-down letters is no issue at all. In fact, no matter how you might describe the underlying issues of reading issues, you will find a scatter plot across any graph.

It is like the colonial subject in 1910 seeing his or her personal issues solved through an interaction with a priest or a minister and assuming that interaction is what the world needs. And at the heart of this is desired ignorance, it is ignorance built of desire not to understand people, to actually believe that people do not count if they are not just like you.

Honestly, at a younger age, I almost made similar mistakes. I found myself arguing for Times New Roman for text, and for WYNN as way of reading. But fortunately, I noticed this absurdity on third person I talked to. He liked Helvetica and Kurzweil 3000, and he wasn't wrong of course, he was different from me. The next person I spoke to found no font useful, no keyboard useful. The next wanted Garamond at a certain size in a certain color combination, though color - within boundaries - had little effect on me. She wasn't wrong, she was different.

So I didn't develop a system for dyslexics, I worked out a way of thinking about choice, because I did not want to rate people according to their distance in similarity from me. I called this idea Toolbelt Theory and I still like it, because I think it respects the people around me.

So in a lifetime of being a Dyslexic, in 20 years of researching Dyslexia, I have learned that there is no best font for this, no best reading method, no best technology choice, no best color combination, no best anything... not even for me across a week or even some days, and I've heard that variability matters for others too. So we need to learn to choose from a menu of what works, to set defaults in browsers but to have other choices, to have a range of technologies.

I choose between 4 fonts, none are designed to look like bubbles being held to the ground because - well - that's not my issue. The computers the students have in our schools come with WordTalk and Balabolka and to in-browser Text-To-Speech system, and there are bookmark links to many others. My computers usually have at least five systems for TTS, my phone has three. But I never, ever, expect any other Dyslexic to choose the same combination.

I have learned that my experience is not "data" because I do not think those different to be outliers or "Children of a Lesser God." So please stop saying what Dyslexics need. And start talking about what choices humans need."
irasocol  2014  dyslexia  dyslexie  fonts  toolbelttheory  reading  difference  typography 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Seven Pathways
"Our pathways are two things: Commitments for our professional learning - how will we learn to be contemporary educators - and promises to our students - what kind of educational environment are we building.

The Seven Pathways

Choice and Comfort

It is our responsibility to provide every learner with real learning space choices based on task-based and physical comfort-based needs, which not only allow their cognitive energy to be focused on learning but helps students to develop the contemporary skills needed to alter and use spaces to initiate and accomplish collaborative and individual work. This includes the availability of multiple communication tools and contemporary technologies as well as assisting students in understanding and creating a variety of learning products which demonstrate student choices in curriculum, task, technologies, and media.

Instructional Tolerance

We will all support student learning environments where active, engaged learners routinely choose from a variety of learning spaces, collaborative and individual activities, and technology tools, including their own personal devices. Our environments will create student opportunities to learn best practices essential to entering contemporary learning and work environments and which enable students to sustain an open mindset and skillset in the use of evolving technology tools. These environments, pre-K through 12, will allow negotiated environmental rules which include and improve student individual and community decision-making.

Universal Design for Learning/Individualization of Learning

No child within the Albemarle County Public Schools should need a label or prescription in order to access the tools of learning or environments they need. Within the constraints of other laws (in particular, copyright) we will offer alternative representations of information, multiple tools, and a variety of instructional strategies to provide access for all learners to acquire lifelong learning competencies and the knowledge and skills specified in curricular standards. We will create classroom cultures that fully embrace differentiation of instruction, student work, and assessment based upon individual learners’ needs and capabilities. We will apply contemporary learning science to create accessible entry points for all students in our learning environments; and which support students in learning how to make technology choices to overcome disabilities and inabilities, and to leverage preferences and capabilities.

Maker-Infused Curriculum

Across our School Division we are committed to student construction of knowledge and skills through the processes of imagining, creating, designing, building, engineering, evaluating and communicating learning. We believe that it is essential that our students learn how to be "Makers" in all phases of their lives, rather than just consumers. We are committed to "Making" as "how we learn," and not as an "extra," and we understand that both "Learning to Make" and "Making to Learn" are essential in every day classroom practice.

Project/Problem/Passion-Based Learning

All Albemarle County Public School students will have consistent learning opportunities across the curriculum to construct knowledge and understanding through responses to authentic problems; to create projects that demonstrate higher order thinking and knowledge acquisition, and to pursue personal interests by making real choices in project forms and media, even when those choices might lie beyond pre-determined expectations. Students will always be encouraged in the use of differentiated pathways as ways to both learn and demonstrate lifelong learning competencies.

Interactive Technologies

In every classroom, every day, we strive to create open learning environments in which students make individual choices as they use technologies to develop classroom work and assignments, and to provide opportunities for our students to actively make tech-based product investigation and choice as part of their study of curriculum. Our students will, regularly during instructional time, use those contemporary technologies (both school provided and individually owned) interact with external experts and students in other communities in order to build learner competencies in the use of the technologies of this century for information access and communication.

Connectivity

We will continuously develop and use activities that engage students in learning networks, including asynchronous and synchronous communication with external experts, access to digital content including primary sources, and interaction with other learners locally and globally who represent a variety of demographically diverse communities. We will, every day, promote and value collaborative projects and knowledge development representative of principles of global and digital literacy and effective, and which demonstrate appropriate global, national, community, and digital citizenship."
albermarleschooldistrict  irasocol  pammoran  technology  connectivity  projectbasedlearning  passionbasedlearning  making  mekers  curriculum  pathways  interaction  universldesign  learning  individualization  howweteach  howwelearn  teaching  education  schools  tolerance  instruction  choice  comfort  toolbelttheory  schooldesign  communication  pbl 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Damian Bariexca on Twitter: "Two must-read blog posts for my #LTPS friends by @chrislehmann (http://t.co/GVPN7L2QQe) and @garystager (http://t.co/M4QJe4UVdH). Thoughts?"
Damian Bariexca: "Two must-read blog posts for my #LTPS friends by @chrislehmann (http://practicaltheory.org/blog/2014/11/20/curriculum-design-putting-the-horse-before-the-cart/ …) and @garystager (http://stager.tv/blog/?p=3408 ). Thoughts?"

[Pointing here for the subsequent back-and-forth between Chris Lehmann and Gary Stager (selectively chosen here), including a couple of comments from Ira Socol.

I share Gary's philosophy of education much more than that of Chris Lehmann's and I admire Gary's knowledge and body of work, but Gary's condescending tone often does his attempts to convince others a disservice. He frequently dismisses others with snide remarks and belittling comments. Gary also falls into self-aggrandizement. For example, complaining the other day that *he* hadn't ever been invited to the White House* (see end for references). So, while I don't share Chris's interest and preference for structure (more the type and source of structure than the presence of structure), I agree with his responses here, especially regarding the day-to-day realities of progressive schools and the need for measures to make working in them sustainable. That's why the majority of the tweets quoted here come from him. Notes added.]

Chris Lehmann: "Gary's a great revolutionary but a lousy policy-maker. Sooner or later, the May Day speeches need to lead somewhere."
[I would love to see Gary get off the workshop and conference circuit and start a school to show others how his approach and philosophy can be the core program of a school and stay intact over time.] https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535788736374910976

"Gary, I think you fundamentally underestimate the need for useful structures to help teachers teach this way." [I'd add that there is also a fundamental underestimation of the day-to-day toll that countercurrents have on those in progressive schools.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867057074872320

"It isn't just about workshops. It's about sustaining the effort over years and finding ways to keep getting better." [Standalone workshops, events, or summer classes are one reality that is often embraced. A core progressive/constructivist/constructionist program is something different altogether and it comes with an unrelenting set of apprehensions, anxieties, doubts, ambivalence, undermining, and accusations from adults who aren't fully committed.] https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867165208231936

"And you, too often, downplay any effort to create structure because of your own dislike of structure. But that is+"
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867291507130368

"too much about you, and not enough about the people you would support - teachers and students. The many failures of+" [Here Chris calls Gary out for making things about him. I have seen this too. For example, rather than critiquing what went on during #FutureReady and suggesting others (day-to-day educators) who should have been there, he griped about not being included, placing himself at the center of the conversation.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867469966352384

"progressive schools that had beautiful visions and insufficient roadmaps toward implementation and therefore suffered"
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867633892347904

"mission drift and founder fatigue, and in time, regressed to the mean is the thing we work daily to avoid. Thus, the+" [Regression to the mean. I've seen that happen in a school. I know of many other schools where that has happened. And sometimes I wonder if it's even worth the while to work in a progressive school rather than focus my energy on supporting those that opt out of school altogether.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867774846119936

"need for thoughtful systems and structures that help good people do the work together through reflective practice."
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867907071541248

"I impune nothing, Gary. I think you are brilliant. I also think you let the perfect being the enemy of the good." [Agreed. There is no need to pit one school against the other. Again, why not create a new school (or lea an existing school) as an example rather than cut down those that are doing their best, aligned with their philosophy? I often say that I have no problem with traditional schools as long as they own what they are doing and don't belittle what others are doing through direct comparison or bashing.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535881338604498945

"not discredit. Merely speak to different experiences. Everything I do is toward SLA as a sustainable structure."
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535881898250473473

"I do not reduce your work. I'm tired of you reducing ours. We at SLA believe in more structure than you. We know." [Here Chris is owning what he believes and what he tries to deliver at SLA. So much respect.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535884701266092032

Ira Socol: "the everyday is very different. It just is" [This. The everyday cannot be compared to workshops, camps, conferences, theory, etc. It's also dangerous to hide (by not sharing or by implying that everything is unanimously embraced by the adults in the community) the very vocal contrary voices that begin to appear when implementing a constuctionist program as the core school day.]
https://twitter.com/irasocol/status/535885352788303872

Gary Stager: "I don't think balance is the goal. This is a matter of stance, of choices." [I agree with Gary here, but that is our philosophy and it's not for everyone. Similar thoughts by Alfie Kohn: http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/progressive.htm ]
https://twitter.com/garystager/status/536214550329044993

Ira Socol: "and where/how one chooses to work" [Yes. One can choose to disagree with the way SLA does things, but one doesn't have to work there.]
https://twitter.com/irasocol/status/536215980184465408

Chris Lehmann: "so when you say "Bridging Differences," you mean "convince Chris he is wrong."" [I think Chris is right here. Impasse is impasse. Time to move on.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/536217394193383425

----------

*"Anyone led more professional development on teaching for the future than me? Funny how I never get invited to the tea party."
https://twitter.com/garystager/status/535485803552456706

"Perhaps a Republican President will invite me to the White House."
https://twitter.com/garystager/status/535487172225146880
garystager  chrislehmann  education  progressive  teaching  structure  2014  irasocol  cv  tcsnmy  disagreement  policy  practice  constructivism  burnout  regression  mediocrity  balance  missiondrift  fatigue  implementation  purity  condescension  alfiekohn  respect  difference  differences 
november 2014 by robertogreco
In Which I Confess to Lacking Grit, Apparently, and Blame It on Family - Peter Gow Associates Peter Gow Associates
"I didn’t ever know my grandfather terribly well, as he was in ill-health for much of my sentient childhood, and I never heard him say it, but he was quoted by those who should know (that is, by students and teaching colleagues, the folks for whom he saved his best thoughts) as having proclaimed that “A thing worth doing is worth doing poorly.”

What a shocking line from a respected educator! But yet, he had a point that I fully and completely embrace: that one doesn’t need to be an past master, a single-minded obsessive, a ninth-degree adept to enjoy doing something or learning about it. The Expert may be an American icon, but there is no reason that someone should have to be fluent in, say, Dutch to be interested in it as a language or to memorize the scientific names and characteristics of every apple in the Empire State to appreciate the glory of upstate apple-ness.

For my grandfather, this dilettante’s approach to learning a few things (and sometimes more) about quite a lot of things was a source of intellectual and emotional joy. He wasn’t interested in throwing his knowledge around at cocktail parties, although I daresay he might have unintentionally done so; he just liked learning stuff.

Of course, we live in an age when we are told that persistence, mastery—grit!—is the sine qua non of meaningful living. We’re told to devote our lives to whatever matters to us, to repeat as necessary (and The Gladwell has decreed that 10,000 times are necessary), until we have broken through the barriers of weakness of character and failure that leave those less gritty lying in the dust. Poor sad souls.

So there was my grandfather, child of immigrants and a college scholarship boy who gave up his chance to be a doctor in order to become a Latin teacher (thus alienating himself from his parents forever and aye). At the age of forty he chucked a steady teaching gig to start his own initially wobbly school. He would score low on the Grit Scale. Poor sad, quixotic soul.

I realize that my own household has taken on some of the characteristics of that living room; my Amazon account and my forays into the world of library book sales, where my spouse is a disciplined shopper and I buy like a sailor on a spree, are all the proof anyone would need to convict me of sharing my grandfather’s lack of grit.

So, Gritless Wonder that I must be, I find myself considering that the whole “grit” thing might just be more than a little over-blown. The recent critique that has been waged in the blogs of educators I admire (like Ira Socoland Josie Holford) seems to be onto something, suggesting as it does that prescribing persistence for victims as an band-aid for systemic social failures is more than a little bit facile and cruel.

There’s grit, and there’s grit: heavy-duty, damn-life’s-torpedoes streetwise stubbornness versus good do-bee persistence—and what educator isn’t for persistence when it matters when it comes to schoolwork? But an educator I worked for once noted that “sometimes giving up in a no-win situation is a sign of intelligence,” and there are students who have been dealt hands that no amount of extra effort on homework will turn into winners; grit alone won’t do it, and the mental and emotional energy to sustain this kind of grit are a price that no child should have to pay, although of course many do. I think that we need to focus more on fixing the no-win situations than on worrying about who has grit and who doesn’t.

The point of my grandfather’s saying, I think, is that in the end a thing worth doing is a thing worth doing. Sometimes we may achieve full mastery, and sometimes we can only do the best we can. Whether we’re up for 10,000 repetitions, or whether we just want a taste and then to move on, his belief and mine are that curiosity and enthusiasm are felicitous starting points for the exploration of a world of wonders. I’d rather have my recollections of poking around in my grandfather’s library than be under the compulsion to prove how much grit I have. I think, old-school teacher that he was, that my grandfather would agree.

And as for the grit enthusiasts among us, let’s keep in mind that there’s a difference between persistence and heroism, and that we oughtn’t to be demanding heroism from every disadvantaged kid—at least until we’re ready, 24/7, to demand it from ourselves. Let’s focus not on heroism, nor grit, nor “accepting no excuses,” but rather on something we can all own to.

In response to yet another post on this grit business, Laura Deisleycites Chris Lehman’s call for an “Ethic of Care,” a response to what she beautifully describes at kids’ “yearning for relationship and purpose.”

An Ethic of Care just beats grit all hollow."
grit  petergow  education  life  irasocol  josieholford  chrislehman  2014  care  caring  specialists  experts  expertise  lauradeisleycites 
august 2014 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Grit Part 4: Abundance, Authenticity, and the Multi-Year Mentor
"A number of us in the school central office I work in share a common thread from childhood. Whatever the circumstances of our lives, whatever the challenges, we were afforded a key luxury: we had in our lives some adult who stuck with us for more than a single year. We had a multi-year mentor.

Industrial education has many destructive effects, but one rarely focused on is the refusal of our school design to allow adult support to stretch beyond a single school year. We have sixth grade teachers and tenth grade teachers. We have middle schools and high schools. We have programs, and thus teachers, who only work with certain age kids. We sometimes even have separate coaches for different age-defined sports. And this is disastrous. By doing this we create the ultimate scarcity of support."



"For me, it is essential that we first ask questions about our systems, that we first ask what we can do to stop damaging children. If we do not, as I've said in this series before, we create damaged children at a far faster rate than we can possibly help them. Whatever the merits of the interventions Tough's book champions, from poorly prepared principals and questionable chess coaches on one end of the spectrum to deeply caring, deeply involved support on the other, nothing he promotes will halt the damage going on daily. I think we must be better than that.

Focusing instead on those three essentials, abundance, authenticity, and adult long-term human support will change the damage equation. We know that. And since we know that, we need to do it."



"Laura Deisley wrote on Eric Juli's blog that kids, "are coming to us from different and very real contexts and yet equally yearning for relationship and purpose. What your kids learn outside of school, and we are associating with "grit," is driven by both relationships and purpose. It is not their choice, and God knows they should not have to be in that situation. And, you're right we cannot change their immediate condition. However, if we too narrowly define outcomes--academic "success" as you call it--then they aren't going to see a purpose that is worth expending any more effort."

Abundance offers opportunity. Authenticity offers that purpose. Relationship offers that support. And I do not care where we teach, or who we teach, I believe that we can alter our systems to provide more of those three things than we do today. And by doing that we can begin to change the equations which defeat our children."
2014  irasocol  grit  looping  tcsnmy  education  teaching  mentoring  systemsthinking  care  caring  abundance  authenticity  support  lcproject  scarcity  slack  relevance  relationships  trust  purpose  lauradeisley  ericjuli 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Not Your Father's School: In Which I Confess to Lacking Grit, Apparently, and Blame It on Family
"I didn’t ever know my grandfather terribly well, as he was in ill-health for much of my sentient childhood, and I never heard him say it, but he was quoted by those who should know (that is, by students and teaching colleagues, the folks for whom he saved his best thoughts) as having proclaimed that “A thing worth doing is worth doing poorly.”

What a shocking line from a respected educator! But yet, he had a point that I fully and completely embrace: that one doesn’t need to be an past master, a single-minded obsessive, a ninth-degree adept to enjoy doing something or learning about it. The Expert may be an American icon, but there is no reason that someone should have to be fluent in, say, Dutch to be interested in it as a language or to memorize the scientific names and characteristics of every apple in the Empire State to appreciate the glory of upstate apple-ness."



"
The point of my grandfather’s saying, I think, is that in the end a thing worth doing is a thing worth doing. Sometimes we may achieve full mastery, and sometimes we can only do the best we can. Whether we’re up for 10,000 repetitions, or whether we just want a taste and then to move on, his belief and mine are that curiosity and enthusiasm are felicitous starting points for the exploration of a world of wonders. I’d rather have my recollections of poking around in my grandfather’s library than be under the compulsion to prove how much grit I have. I think, old-school teacher that he was, that my grandfather would agree.

And as for the grit enthusiasts among us, let’s keep in mind that there’s a difference between persistence and heroism, and that we oughtn’t to be demanding heroism from every disadvantaged kid—at least until we’re ready, 24/7, to demand it from ourselves. Let’s focus not on heroism, nor grit, nor “accepting no excuses,” but rather on something we can all own to.

In response to yet another post on this grit business, Laura Deisley cites Chris Lehman’s call for an “Ethic of Care,” a response to what she beautifully describes at kids’ “yearning for relationship and purpose.”

An Ethic of Care just beats grit all hollow."
2014  petergow  caring  via:steelemaley  teaching  schools  persistence  heroism  chrislehmann  lauradeisley  irasocol  josieholford  grit  relationships 
february 2014 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Paul Tough v. Peter Høeg - or - the Advantages and Limits of "Research"
[Part 2 now here: http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2014/01/grit-part-2-is-slack-what-kids-need.html ]
[And from Josie Holford: http://www.josieholford.com/grit-hits-the-fan/ ]
[Huge discussion with Paul Tough: http://learningpond.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/does-grit-need-deeper-discussion/ ]
[Part 3: http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2014/01/grit-part-3-is-it-abundance-of.html ]
[And more: http://atthechalkface.com/2014/01/29/an-open-apology-with-explanations-math-behaviorism-and-grit/
Part 4: http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2014/02/grit-part-4-abundance-authenticity-and.html
Paul Gow: http://notyourfathersschool.blogspot.com/2014/02/in-which-i-confess-to-lacking-grit.html
Laura Deisley http://growinggoodschools.blogspot.com/2014/01/grit-or-slack-are-we-asking-right.html?showComment=1391262821367#c343857328100931918
Mike Rose: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/02/06/the-misguided-effort-to-teach-character/
"Summarizing Grit: The Abundance Narratives" (Ira includes a collection of links to additional posts, including mant of those above): http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2014/02/summarizing-grit-abundance-narratives.html ]

"Mostly, it's an important book because Tough has written a book which might begin to persuade his The New York Times social class, the wealthy, powerful people who set national and international agendas, that their education agenda of the past 30 years has been wrong. I cannot do that, and my writing cannot do that, because "evidence" of a single specific form is the only thing which this group responds to. And Paul Tough has assembled that form of information admirably, largely repudiating all that he has - and much of what has - written about education before. That really matters.

But it is a dangerous book because Tough continues to look for simple answers which will make life comfortable for his social class. It is a dangerous book because it never really asks the tough questions. It is a dangerous book because it holds out those old New England Calvinist ideals - grit and hard work - as the "by your own bootstraps" way to the top - as the path for the poor without ever really acknowledging that the rich need none of that.

Principally it is a dangerous book because, through the use of only stories selected by the researchers Tough fawns over, it implies a series of essential untruths about those who grow up along America's socio-economic, learning, and behavioral borderlines. It is not a dangerous book, however, for the reasons suggested by "the usual suspects" - E.D. Hirsch, Daniel Willingham, and Peter Meyer. "Yet it is hard to argue from recent reform efforts that the aim has been to increase the “information we can stuff into her brain in the first few years," Hirsch laughably pronounces, proving once again that he has actually never seen a public school. The danger in the book is not Tough's correct demolition of the "cognitive hypothesis" - the idea that schools have been focusing on Googlable information instead of life long learning competencies - but his lack of art in understanding children born differently from himself.

But that missing art, that missing empathy, that missing doubt, where do we go to reach for that? And why is that important?"



"That fact: that quantifiable research can only tell you about what you already know, is a critical problem for people of Paul Tough's class, people with Data Over Acceptance Disorder. And its a disaster in education - block real change from ever being considered "What Works" by those in power. And so we get someone like David Coleman, "architect of the Common Core," making this ridiculous - if entertainingly profane - statement:
"Do you know the two most popular forms of writing in the American high school today?…It is either the exposition of a personal opinion or the presentation of a personal matter. The only problem, forgive me for saying this so bluntly, the only problem with these two forms of writing is as you grow up in this world you realize people don’t really give a sh** about what you feel or think. What they instead care about is can you make an argument with evidence, is there something verifiable behind what you’re saying or what you think or feel that you can demonstrate to me. It is a rare working environment that someone says, “Johnson, I need a market analysis by Friday but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood."

Coleman, a life spent fully immersed in nothing but prior knowledge, cannot understand the power of either personal experience or the imagination. He believes that the best storytelling is that which is endlessly repeated until it is "normed." But the best storytelling is not what Paul Tough writes, or what David Coleman tests - rather - it begins with the art of seeing what few others can.

Thus, in Tough's chapters 11 and 12, his researchers search their known world among children they do not know at all - and that is a problem for the story Tough wants to tell. First, he tells us that kids in a Chicago juvenile detention facility have much smaller vocabularies than other students, but we have no way of knowing whether that is true or not. The vocabularies of the jailed teens was not measured, instead they were asked about white middle class vocabulary. I could easily devise a test based on South Side Chicago street vocabulary that middle class AP students would fail, but there just isn't any validity in either assessment. Then Tough writes about how children with less "attentive" mothers were more likely to engage in disruptive activities in classrooms - but again - we do not have any idea what "disruption" means in this context. We might guess the behavior standard being sought is that used by KIPP, sitting still, staring straight ahead, and shutting up. But if I looked at St. Ann's School in Brooklyn Heights, I might find that the wealthy children of highly attentive parents would be acting a lot like Tough's troubled kids - a great deal of movement, distraction, talking out of turn, leaving the classroom, staring out the window... In fact, later in the book, Tough himself acknowledges as much, but that pesky Data Over Acceptance Disorder prevents him from understanding his own experience, he's stuck in David Coleman's world of non-imagination."



"There is this scene in Borderliners, in it the young narrator Peter describes exactly what he needs. He

tells the story of the orphanage he was in, and how you only got 30 seconds of hot water in the shower, and then had to move to the cold. But his friend Oscar Humlum stays under the cold for minutes, stopping the line, leaving Peter in the comfort of the hot water stream. Humlum says nothing then, needs to say nothing, offers neither praise nor sympathy. Rather, he just gives a moment of peace, and for Peter, this is mythic.

Because that is what "we" need, Mr. Tough. That is what we've always needed. Acceptance, belief, a few moments of peace, and maybe - evidence that "we" are worth sacrificing for. Not the kind of "work sacrifice" KIPP expects from their teachers, not the paid sacrifice of social workers, not even the charity sacrifice of volunteers, but the kind of deep personal sacrifice which suggests real care.

It is that which will give "us" both a chance to breath and believe in ourselves. And in that pause we may find a path."

[Grateful for this after seeing these:
http://blog.coreknowledge.org/2012/09/26/e-d-hirsch-on-paul-toughs-how-children-succeed/
http://www.danielwillingham.com/1/post/2013/10/how-children-succeed.html
http://educationnext.org/paul-tough%E2%80%99s-grit-hypothesis-doesn%E2%80%99t-help-poor-kids/ ]
irasocol  grit  paultough  children  learning  education  poverty  allostaticload  stress  kipp  davelevin  borderliners  technology  quantification  questionframing  edhirsch  danielwillingham  petermeyer  2013  measurement  science  elitism  disconnect  cognitivetheory  cleocherryholmes  howchildrenlearn  howwelearn  peterhøeg  josieholford  slack  petergow  lauradeisley  relationships  shrequest1 
december 2013 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The Wilful Ignorance of Richard Allington
"Now, since "Doctor" Allington has called me a "cheater" and "illiterate" - let me list my credentials - and I will argue that these are contemporary - post-Gutenberg - credentials. Sure "Doctor," I struggle mightily with decoding alphabetical text, and sure, unless I am drawing my letters, copying them in fact, my writing is just about useless, and - well, to go further, I've never learned to "keyboard" with more than one finger. So yes, "Doctor," by your standards I can neither read nor write. And to get around that I do indeed "cheat." I use digital text-to-speech tools, from WYNN to WordTalk to Balabolka to Click-Speak and I use audiobooks all the time, whether from Project Gutenberg or LibriVox or Audible. Yes, I "cheat" by writing with Windows Speech Recognition and Android Speech Recognition and the SpeakIt Chrome extension.

And "Doctor," I not only use them, I encourage students all over the United States, all around the world in fact, to cheat with these tools as well. I've even helped develop a free suite of tools for American students to support that "cheating."

But beyond that, I'll match my scholarship with "Doctor" Allington's anytime, including my "deeply read" knowledge of the history of American education, and my "actual" - Grounded Theory Research - with real children in real schools in real - non-laboratory, non-abusive-control-group - situations.

And beyond that, I tend to think I'm as "well read" as any non-literature major around. So if the "Doctor" wants to debate James Joyce or Seamus Heaney or current Booker Prize shortlist fiction, or argue over why American schools often teach literature and the real part of reading, the understanding - so badly, I think I'll be able to hold my own."
irasocol  2013  richardallington  literacy  multiliteracies  credentialism  assistivetechnology  learning  education  accommodations  testing  speechrecognition  gutenbergparenthesis  audiobooks  cheating  specialeducation  commoncore  universaldesign 
december 2013 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Re-thinking the Middle School
Middle School often begins with the definite division of learning into so-called "content areas," an idea pushed firmly into law in the past twenty years with the myth of the "highly qualified teacher." Of course being a "highly qualified teacher" is not about subject/content knowledge, as anyone who has attended a university lecture can testify, it is about being a leading learner for a group of kids. But this "qualification" mentality - "subject area" mentality - is exactly the opposite of what kids, especially 12-14-year-olds, need. They need a holistic view of learning which encourages them to build bridges across knowledge areas, and across areas of the brain. 

Middle School also introduces an absurdly false concept of "adult responsibility" which tells kids that the adults in the school are clueless.We insist that every middle school kid "act like an adult" when it suits us, but never when it suits them, and if you have any memory at all, you know that every middle school kid knows this. "You're old enough to be responsible for yourself," counts when it comes to being marked "late" for class, but not if you are ever out of direct line of sight for a seated librarian. It counts when you get a grade but not when you ask to do something. It counts when they charge you adult admission to a theatre, but not when you want to see a film about high school. Of course it counts if you commit a crime, not if you want a drink.And Middle School starts with violating all sense of teenage time and space. The adolescent brain struggles with contemporary temporal standards - actually - most humans do, but 13-year-olds haven't yet been fully beaten into submission.



"First of all, teens need ownership, they need to believe that spaces and programs are "their's" not "our's." Is that really such a foreign concept?"



"Second, teens need comfort."



"Finally, adolescents need a curriculum which engages. If you read that National Geographic article you will learn all about adolescent decision making, and, you'll realize that every kid in that Middle School is making perfectly logical decisions about what you, the teacher and administrator, are offering.

This is a microeconomic decision. For anything we do, there is an opportunity cost. Even the decision to pay attention to the teacher for five minutes has to be weighed against the other things you might be doing during that five minutes - daydreaming about the boy/girlfriend, wondering who'll get into the NCAA tournament, imagining tonight's soccer game, considering a more interesting subject. If what you are "selling" isn't understood as worth that five minutes, your students would have to be fools to listen to you. And they are not fools.

In a favorite school moment, a math teacher walked up to a school librarian and complained, "This kid drives me crazy, he'd rather go to Saturday School than come to my class." The librarian looked at the teacher and said, "Well, you have to think about that."

Indeed. As I once wrote in a short story, "They all say I "make bad decisions." Everybody says that. But they're wrong about that too. I make decisions they don't like, but they're not bad." Keep in mind, there are two sides to decision-making, and "reasonable alternatives" lead to better decisions.

So if you offer adolescents project-based learning which connects with their passions, you may suddenly find a bunch of kids lined up and ready to work. If you offer them pointless arithmetic, or books no one really wants to read, they will - they should - make other choices.

The time to change is now. Every year, in almost every place, 5th graders doing great work turn into sullen, unhappy 6th graders who fail those high-stakes tests. That's not genetics, and its not hormones, that is "us," with our high-school-styled, classroom-changing, grim-corridoring, bell-ringing, subject-divided, planner-driven, recess-missing Middle Schools.

So before another school year begins, if you are in the business of Middle School, there is probably damn little that you are doing that shouldn't be changed. And there are really no good excuses for not making those changes."
2013  irasocol  middleschool  tcsnmy  cv  education  schools  schooling  schooliness  policy  adolescence 
october 2013 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Thinking TEST and Toolbelt Theory again, the Tech Choice Paradigm for Every Child
[Related: http://www.iwasthinking.ca/2013/10/10/understanding-ira-socols-test-approach/ ]

"None of this is unimportant. These are the kinds of tool choices which will help define success for students in their lives in their century. It is especially critical for every student on every margin, the ones - like me - who need to make the right technological choices to be effective at, say, reading or writing. Or at communicating, or at maths. These aren't "assistive technologies" anymore than elevators, cars, and eyeglasses are - they are the tools we need to learn to choose, use, and leverage to be our best.

Let's go through this. It isn't enough, in this century, to say, "I will read (or watch) the news." We need to decide what kinds of news to read, watch, and interact with, when to do that so we maximize our learning and attention, on what device to do that, using what apps or software to prioritize it. If I use Flipboard do I know how t set that up? What are the limitations of New York Times apps? How do I interact with the Guardian? Is it worth having news alerts emailed to me? texted to me? About what? If reading isn't easy, or I'm in my car a lot, which apps best convert text to speech?

It isn't enough to say, "I'll write that down." On what? How? Where? Do I know how to set up Windows Speech Recognition? How to use Speech to Text in Android? in Dragon Lite in iOS? in Chrome? Do I know how to configure a keyboard on a tablet or mobile device? Can I adapt a keyboard if I have to use a computer in another country?

Obviously, we just don't "send letters," I need to know how to text my boss even if I'm driving. I need to know how to send a professional text, a professional email, a professional dm. I need to know how to read critical work emails and texts even if I'm driving or rushing through an airport. And, most critically, I will need to choose and set up devices throughout my life.

These are essential skills. And these are essential skills that certain children - the privileged - get at home from the start, but they are essential skills which most American schools have chosen to deny to kids whose parents cannot supply them with these options - thus widely increasing the devastating opportunity gap.

The critical point today is, you can't do any of this if you do not begin by changing how you acquire the technology in your school, and then change how you teach with that technology. You have to begin by buying technology based your students' needs to respond individually to the first three steps in TEST, so that they have the options, and eventually the knowledge, to function in a multi-device, multi-operating system world."



"Cochrane explicitly locates this within the postcolonial realm of the Disability Studies/Disability Rights movement - a large force in Europe - and little known in American, especially American K-12, education. The Disability Studies movement views disability as between somewhat and entirely a social construct... my preference is to use the term Transactional (see also this) - the opposite of the medical model... and tends to want to allow humans to make identity choices instead of being described by diagnosis - as even the most well-meaning American educators tend to do. (Americans like to use the same terminology for "disability" as for all pathologies, so they say, "a student with a reading disability" as they'd say, "a student with cancer." The other option is for the student to choose - or not choose - to use an identity label as we would with other forms of identity, "an African-American student," "a dyslexic student," "a gay student.")

This matters not just for students we label as having "disabilities," it matters for all not statistically average. Students cannot reach their potentials when we spend more effort limiting them and describing their problems than we spend enabling them and equipping them with the tools they need."
toolbelttheory  irasocol  education  teaching  learning  byod  technology  assistivetechnology  onesizefitsall  2013  test  choice  diversity  disability  disabilitystudies  colonialism  reading  writing  communication  specialeducation  postcolonialism  disabilities 
october 2013 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: when voices are lost...
"And voice cannot flourish unless children can express themselves as they need to, in the safety of a community which accepts that voice and encourages it and hears it carefully, and all of that exists in a place where children do not crawl down the sides of corridors in fear, or fear punishments because they behave as children, or where they are measured according to nonsensical adult measuring sticks.

In the end, we don't need "more security" and we don't need "higher standards." Yes, we need to remove killing machines from our nation, but really, we need to care a whole lot more. We need to rearrange our priorities in such a way that our children come first, that our children and our learning spaces and our educators have the resources - all the resources - which they need and all the safety which allows them to be children and adolescents - to learn, to f--- up, to learn more, to grow, to be who they are."
love  freedom  standards  guncontrol  safety  security  parenting  schools  children  irasocol  2012  sandyhook 
december 2012 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Why do we read? Why do we write?
"Why do we read? Why do we write? How do we bring reading to children? How do we encourage children to write?

Will we accept a true democracy of voices? Or do we continue to pursue the colonialism of conversion, the colonialism of standardization?"

"And so I wonder, (a) where does my communication fit into your school? your Common Core? your library? your classroom? and (b) where does that democracy of voice fit in? How do we embrace that and not squash it?

The world is a place of constant reinvention. If we all follow the rules, the paths, nothing changes. There is a reason the books of the colonials so often fill the Booker Prize shortlists, there is a reason Irish fiction and poetry are prized so much more highly than that of the English or Americans. The rules have never fully taken root away from "the Queen's English," and the paths begin in very different places, and it is the uncommon, not the common, which has extraordinary value."
fiveparagraphessays  curriculum  why  howweread  howwewrite  schools  deschooling  unschooling  rules  sequence  time  memory  rebeccanewbergergoldstein  jamesjoyce  ulysses  umbertoeco  literature  standardization  commoncore  colonialism  democracy  linearity  learning  teaching  2012  communication  writing  reading  irasocol  linear 
november 2012 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: If you say "scale up," you don't understand humanity
"The trick to sharing "best practices" is to stop doing that. Instead, share "our practices" and let ideas meet, collide, mix, and take root differently in each place. The trick to "scaling up" is the same - stop trying. If BMW has to "Americanize" their cars in order to sell them in the United States (adding cup holders, etc), what makes people like Intel or the KIPP or TFA foundations so arrogant as to imagine that they can replicate themselves among vastly different communities?

Instead we imagine, attempt, describe, converse. We pass along concepts, not plans. We share observations, not blueprints. We accept that whether it is a child or a school, we can not evaluate anything with a checklist or a score, but only with very human description.

That's a less rational world which requires more humane effort, and it contains troubling mountains and deep valleys because it is not flat. But it is the world in which we actually live."
heartofdarkness  wine  diversity  differences  norming  norms  standardization  rttt  nclb  arneduncan  benjamindistraeli  williamgladstone  cottonmather  hybridization  worldisflat  universaldesign  scalingup  scalingacross  germany  france  uk  us  americanization  localism  local  teaching  learning  unschooling  deschooling  comparativeeducation  blueprints  society  americanexceptionalism  exceptionalism  reform  britisshemprire  thomasfriedman  assimiliation  cooexistence  frenchcolonialism  terroir  deborahfrieze  margaretwheatley  anglocentrism  decolonization  colonization  humanscale  human  scaling  scale  education  schools  2012  irasocol 
february 2012 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Changing Gears 2012: reconsidering what "literature" means
"So my seventh step in Changing Gears 2012 is to look as widely as you can for the literature which will touch your students, for the canon which will help them know themselves and our world. This matters. When we prescribe a Common Core we proscribe all that lies beyond that, and what lies beyond is truly the 99 percent."
storytelling  variety  learning  deschooling  unschooling  communication  expression  video  literacy  2012  commoncore  literature  irasocol  culture  reading 
january 2012 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Changing Gears 2012: start to dream again
"Instead of setting the bar, NCLB-like, based on what exists now, might we not set the bar where we want it to be?

Would it look like the phenomenally successful Parkway Program of Philadelphia's 1960s-1970s, or like my "3I Program"…? "The whole scene oozed with activity and life & while there was no apparent order to it all, a sense of purpose seemed evident... I asked [the head teacher] if he would identify the kinds of things that were going on about us. His response - quick & unqualified - was to the effect that he had no idea what the activities consisted of, that it was furthermore not his business to know, and that the participants had defined the content, value, and details of their pursuits and were probably doing whatever it was they felt it important to do." - Greenberg & Roush… Or like Summerhill? Or like any other model?

No.

No, we do not know what it might look like, because that will be constantly evolving, if we are doing our job and empowering our kids."
tcsnmy  gamechanging  curriculum  schooldesign  schools  learning  lcproject  deschooling  uncertainty  unschooling  education  irasocol  2012 
january 2012 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Changing Gears 2012: ending required sameness
"It is time to dispense with age-based grades and grade-level-"expectations," time to rid ourselves of assignments where everyone works on the same thing much less in the same way, time to rid ourselves of time schedules which limit learning, time to move beyond "Universal Design" to learning studios where differentiated humans learning to live and work together."
grading  grades  learningstudio  standardization  tcsnmy  cv  schooliness  schools  uniformity  conformity  sameness  diversity  2012  lcproject  studioclassroom  unschooling  education  agesegregation  irasocol 
january 2012 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: for whom the medium is the message...
"And that is very sad. Or worse than sad. It is a kind of evil, an insistence that one's preferred medium, or in this case, textural and olfactory experience, is superior to any other. It is the worst kind of cultural imperialism."

"It is essential that we understand this now. It is essential that we stand up to those, from Mr. Jarrard to those who push "Common Core" standards, who seek to rank media in a hierarchy according to their personal preferences and in order to preserve their own status, wealth, and power ("I am important and intelligent because I am highly literate.").

Our students can, and will, tell stories in many, many ways. They will read stories in many, many ways…

So give your students stories this year. And give them the freedom to tell stories. The medium may matter, but the medium is only the message if the message can effectively be received through the medium chosen. Otherwise, an unreceived story, is, well... not much at all."
expression  video  books  kylejarrard  standardization  standards  academicelitism  deschooling  unschooling  learning  tcsnmy  literacy  literacies  commoncore  2011  irasocol  teaching  writing  reading  multiliteracies  diversity  culturalimperialism 
december 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The Teaching of Tribalism
"Teaching tribalism. We do it all the time. In secondary school after secondary school across the United States we mix our national symbols with our local tribal symbols. And in both cases, our goal is to build tribal loyalty, and yes, tribal loyalty means that nothing is more important than "us" against "them."…

Loyalty is not all bad. Loyalty is essential to human society. But loyalty should never be taught as somehow involving unquestioning, or lack of doubting, or shutting off our moral compasses."

[See also: http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2011/11/cultures-of-compliance.html ]
loyalty  tribalism  2011  pennstate  irasocol  teaching  nationalism  patriotism  ethics  joepaterno  us  humanism  society  morality  pledgeofallegiance  sports  fanaticism  culture 
november 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Schools that matter
"People who've heard me talk about middle schools have probably heard me say something like, "this age group has a million legitimate things to worry about every day, and none of them are in our curriculum."

I say this repeatedly because (a) I believe it to be true - that the evolutionary purpose of adolescence is unrelated to our program of schooling - and that (b) those who misunderstand this drive kids between, say, 12 and 25 crazy - and not in good ways - with special damage happening to the 12-16-year-old group, many of whom lose complete interest in what we call "education" and never really return…"
teens  schools  middleschool  teaching  learning  education  2011  irasocol  neuroscience  teenagebrain  unschooling  deschooling  attention  society  capitalism  industrialrevolution  adolescence  youth  tcsnmy  lcproject  maxweber  alisongopnik  laurencesteinberg 
october 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: If school isn't for collaborating, why does anyone come?
"So here is what your classroom, and your school, needs to offer kids:

1. A learning environment in which students make most decisions. Where will I work? What devices will I use? How will I use my time? How will I get help? How will I work with others? How will I be comfortable?…

2. A time environment in which students learn and work along a schedule which makes sense to them…

3. A technological environment which supports collaboration across every barrier…

4. A social environment where adults do not rank students according to their oppressive standards."
collaboration  irasocol  pedagogy  learning  schools  unschooling  deschooling  education  grades  grading  technology  lcproject  tcsnmy  environment  time  schedules  structure  rankings  schooldesign  2011  choice  self-directedlearning  student-led 
october 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Hulu in the Classroom: Building Literacy
""I've never understood our classroom commitment to "the book," but, I've really never understood our classroom commitment to "the chapter book."

What skills are learned from reading a book which are not learned from watching a film? I'm not saying books are "bad," just asking, "why are they 'better'?"

And why is longer 'better'?

[Short stories discussion]

But then I thought, why do we start with text on a page. I thought back to discovering books of those Twilight Zonestories after years of watching the show, and how much I loved "reading" them (or really, listening to them via audiobook, but I think that's the same).

And I thought that, as part of our effort to make kids want to read, want to write, we must first get them interested in stories, in wanting to know stories, and in how stories are told, and why.

And one great way to do that is to use short fiction in another medium - the short fiction of Hulu and other free sources of video - film and television."
irasocol  classideas  shortstories  reading  writing  hulu  youtube  film  learning  stories  storytelling  narrative  dialogue  2011  lists  video  tv  television  twiliightzone  huma8  literature  dialog 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Views: Stop Chasing High-Tech Cheaters - Inside Higher Ed
"It has long been academe's dirty little secret that bad instructors and bad assignments create cheating. If knowledge of a meaningless list of facts is being assessed, if spelling is being measured, if memorization of equations is the goal of a course, students can and will cheat. Perhaps they should cheat…<br />
<br />
"If they'd spend as much time studying" as they do cheating, a University of Nevada at Las Vegas dean says in the Times article, "they'd all be A students." The question for the dean is, what would they have an "A" in? Rewriting Wikipedia to please a professor? Spelling? Regurgitating information that any competent search engine user could find in thirty seconds? Perhaps the skills the "cheaters" are learning are the far more valuable ones. These skills will carry them forward in ways memorization of spelling, quadratic formulas, scientific terms and historical dates simply will not."
irasocol  cheating  education  highereducation  highered  plagiarism  technology  teaching  information  learning  unschooling  deschooling  pedagogy  2006 
july 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: A physical place for virtual education
"…physical place is importan…beautiful…flexible…interactive. Kids should be free to come & go, but I'd like them to want to stay. Kids should have the tools they need there, & access to food & drink & other "comforts." & the faculty needs to be there too - not for supervision - but for interaction as students need & want.

…start w/ effective wireless capabilities in your "Physical Space for Virtual Learning," …4G comes in well…a Tool Crib of devices…lots of different kinds of seating. Tables and floor space for collaboration, and spaces - like music practice rooms - for solitude or quiet…furniture should all be movable, and probably whimsical in some ways…place for play…variety to the space, variety to the time, and variety in staff interaction…lighting varies…noise levels…vary…Don't pick "50 year" furniture.

Think of MeetUps linked to any possible subject of mutual interests. Hold Hack Days geared to music or games or teaching or anything. And invite the community in…"
schooldesign  tcsnmy  lcproject  learning  irasocol  2011  space  place  unschooling  deschooling  education  community  furniture  schools  teaching  meetups  meetingplace  play  hackdays  hackerspaces  variety  diversity 
july 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Transactional Disability and the Classroom
"Somewhere between "the medical model" - difference described as a medical illness the way North Americans do - "a person with cancer" "a person with a reading disability" - and the "social model" - difference described as only a problem created by societal norms, lies what I have begun calling "the transactional model." Yes, we are all different in various ways, including our set of capabilities. But these differences only become "impairments" when we - the differently capable - find that we cannot negotiate the world, or a specific corner of the world, the way others have set it up."
disability  disabilities  irasocol  physicaldisability  learningdisabilities  2010  transactionaldisability  teaching  learning  society  ability  foucault  adhd  ieps  michelfoucault 
july 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Pygmalion
"There has always been a tension in the US between expressed ideal of multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society - you know…and the reality on the political ground, which is that "our leadership" would find things "much easier" if we were all "white, protestant, straight, northern Europeans."

Actually not.

They don't want that. If everyone were "the same" the "leadership class" would not know at-a-glance who belonged and who did not. So, what they want is for everyone "else" to waste enormous effort trying to be like them, while they race comfortably ahead…

You know, there's a reason great universities crave diversity in their student bodies (exclude Harvard, Princeton, & Penn from that group because…social class finishing schools): It is because, education, like societies, work best - makes the greatest strides - when there is neither "Common Core Knowledge" nor "Common Culture."…

We don't need E.D. Hirsch, Jr, Bill Gates, and Arne Duncan making Eliza Doolittle's out of us."
commoncore  irasocol  pygmalion  2011  diversity  edhirsch  kipp  colonialism  deschooling  unschooling  schooliness  properness  identity  whiteness  history  literature  universities  colleges  learning  education  instruction  decolonization  billgates  arneduncan  elizadoolittle  georgebernardshaw  class  wealth  power  control  cities  homogeneity  language  speech  fordenglishschool 
july 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The art of seeing (Part III) Visiting Delphi
"…we must help students find their own work/study environments, rather than organize that for them. That we must help them discover what creates "privacy" for themselves, rather than enforce group silence…help students learn to construct their own scheduling systems…

When I say I want our students to be creators, not consumers, I mean it. I want to "graduate" students who are capable of creating their own workplaces, their own learning habits, and most importantly, their own solutions to their problems and the problems of our world…

We must create environments which support creation of the new. If our school design remains "the shelf" - rooms lined up according to age and/or pre-determined topic... If our school schedule remains "the shelf" - time lined up by topic and pre-determined function... If our assessment measures what we expect rather than what might be imagined... we are failing to see the future and we are - very literally - blinding our students."
irasocol  2011  education  future  unschooling  deschooling  democraticschools  democracy  innovation  problemsolving  elibroad  arneduncan  billgates  statusquo  wealth  privilege  learning  self-directedlearning  self-directed  technology  lcproject  schools  schooling  schooldesign  kinect  open  openness 
june 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The art of seeing (Part II) The Practice
"When I observe a school I start by watching how I, and how kids, approach it. I watch how the corridors operate, both when filled with movement and (if) when empty. Empty corridors during a school day speak loudly to me. So do classrooms with one kind of seating, one kind of lighting, or one "teaching wall." I watch the feet of kids in a class. I watch them fidget… [many more examples]…

This multiply-focused kind of observation helps me to begin to deep map a school…

the linearity and single-focus of traditional education has, perhaps, robbed you of, or severely limited, your human observation skills. Tens of thousands of hours of single subject lessons, of staring at teachers, of conference sessions divided into "tracks," have stunted the human abilities you had before you entered school. So, if you feel out of practice, here are a few ideas: Eavesdrop…Look for something you haven't looked for before in a place you've been a million times…Stare…Talk to strangers"
irasocol  noticing  observation  learning  schools  teaching  unschooling  deschooling  schooldesign  lcproject  tcsnmy  students  perspective  eavesdropping  staring  strangers  conversation  understanding  2011  howto  tutorials  adhdvision  adhdwalk  deepmapping  sensemaking  publicschools  sla  chrislehmann  pammoran  children  people  howwework  howwelearn 
june 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Measurement and the Overpromise
The problem with measurement is that it does three very negative things: (1)…creates false comparisons against a fiction - "the average human" & "the average human experience." The child born in the village in rural Kenya is made to line up against Bill Gate's children, on a scale created by Bill Gates. Thus that child is "not white enough," "not Protestant enough," "does not read enough books," and simply lacks "computer time." (2)…ties us firmly to the past - we can only measure against a known… (3) measurement limits what a society thinks is important.…

And of course, "measurers" become "fixers."
irasocol  measurement  education  fixing  learning  tcsnmy  rttt  gatesfoundation  billgates  politics  policy  comparison  falsecomparisons  society  capitalism  2011  philanthropy  charitableindustrialcomplex  shrequest1  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  power  control 
june 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The art of seeing
"we must stop being blinded by our incredibly limited view of "science." Rather, we must learn to see again, to see widely & complexly. To build our own deep maps of the people, places, & experiences before us. You cannot describe the experience of a middle school English class w/out knowing what happened in the corridor before class began, or what happened the night before at home. You cannot describe the work coming out of a 10th grade math class w/out understanding the full experience of students and their parents with mathematics to that point…And you cannot tell me about the "performance" of any school if you have not deep-mapped it to include a million data points—most of which cannot be charted or averaged or statistically normed.

Human observation & deep mapping are hard, but hardly impossible. These are skills which we all had before school began, and which we must recapture. We'll start by putting down our checklists…& in the next post, we will start to practice…"
seeing  observation  observing  deepmapping  learning  education  unschooling  deschooling  science  progressive  administration  management  tcsnmy  lcproject  schools  irasocol  nclb  billgates  gatesfoundation  arneduncan  rttt  checklists  adhd  adhdvision  pammoran  salkhan  jebbush  matthewkugn  robertmarzano  instruction  training  gamechanging  salmankhan 
june 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The Age of Reason
"at 11, is considered…to be adult because he is alleged to have acted badly…how good must  [he] be to be considered an adult?…

…imagine now that you are btwn age 10 & 25. If you are you're in a bizarre never-never land where your age will always be used against you, but rarely get you anything…

Let's start by correcting juvenile justice laws…while we're doing that, let's make sure that we are moving kids toward freedom, that Middle School looks more open, more chaotic, than elementary school. That High School looks, & is, more open still. That, like adults, kids aren't badgered for being 5 minutes late, or for forgetting something. That, like adults, kids have the freedom to sit, stand, or walk around - freedom to use the toilet, freedom to eat & drink in most places. That, like adults, kids have the freedom to control their own learning.

If we are training our kids to be adults, lets first not make them adults for wrong reasons…then, lets show them what it actually means."
youth  teens  adolescence  adulthood  adults  criminalization  juveniles  juvenilejustice  justice  education  middleschool  highschool  law  legal  irasocol  democracy  democratic  learning  behavior  control  agediscrimination  inconsistency  2011  murder  reason  change  reform  lcproject  tcsnmy  classideas  unschooling  deschooling 
april 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Pedagogy 101
"Suited (I thought) and tied,
earnest as the day was very long,
I taught them when to be still,
why they needed to listen,
where Columbus was born,
how to answer textbook questions
and what the similarity was
between my decrees and their grades.

Sitting at bolted desks
while flies rambled on tall windows
they taught me when to shut my mouth,
why I needed to hear,
where they were coming from,
how to question textbook answers,
and what the difference is
between schooling and education."
poetry  irasocol  alanshapiro  2011  1999  poems  education  teaching  cv  tcsnmy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  textbooks  learning  schools  schooliness  memorization  understanding 
april 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The Big Lies (Part Two)
"Teach for America is a "noble" idea; A Core Curriculum is essential; "Core" subjects are more important than other subjects"<br />
<br />
Comment from Shelly Blake-Plock: "I've never understood why game theory and risk analysis, innovation and entrepreneurship, free improvisation and non-idiomatic problem solving, conflict negotiation, and community service aren't at the heart of the "Core Curriculum". I'm getting kinda bored of the usual "English", "Math", "Science" rigmarole. Oh, wait a second... Education is the product of Education. Whatever that is."
tfa  irasocol  policy  education  edhirsch  teaching  learning  deschooling  unschooling  reform  schools  schooling  coreknowledge  priorities  teachforamerica 
march 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Why is China the model rather than Finland?
"Finland, an egalitarian, democratic, & socialist nation can not be allowed to be model, in our leaders' eyes. That would suggest much about America is wrong in ways which would threaten everything from Bill Gates' fortune to place of privilege in future held by Obama's daughters.

If Finland is allowed to be a model it might mean that the US would need to accept social mobility, & the children & grandchildren of NYTimes editorial & corporate employees would no longer be guaranteed admission to elite schools. If Finland is a model, there's a chance for all to succeed, which means that both the achievement gap & income gap might close.

How much better for the ruling elite to celebrate hierarchical, brutally divided societies where "the little people" have no voice and no influence?

So American "leaders" look to China now* as they did to Soviet Union in 1958 & Prussian Empire in 1858 because they want education to fail most children, because they want society to remain as it is."
edreform  policy  finland  china  1958  1858  2011  publicschools  socialism  egalitarianism  billgates  barackobama  arneduncan  education  politics  hierarchy  testing  standardizedtesting  standardization  society  capitalism  havesandhavenots  prussia  deschooling  unschooling  stasis  change  gamechanging  irasocol  money  class 
march 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The Big Lies (Part One)
"standardized testing measures compliance…

In order to have a standardized test, you must have a single view of what something means…Not only that, you must have a single idea of what human development means at a fixed point.

What standardized testing measures is how a student complies with a fictional human "average" built according to the expectations of a societal elite…

This sounds nice, a single standard, that "high expectations for all" newspeak phrase. But what it means is that your children - not born rich to two parents with doctorates from Ivy League schools, raised with multigenerational support and in small-class-size private schools - will never be able to catch up or keep up.

Measuring human growth & development is not like measuring the reproduction of a single prototype on an assembly line. It is a complex system of helping to figure out where a student is, and how to help them get where they are going."
innovation  assessment  competition  edreform  reform  education  policy  rttt  nclb  standardizedtesting  testing  standards  standardization  2011  publicschools  humandevelopment  irasocol  learning  measurement  compliance  unschooling  deschooling  schools 
march 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Choosing Not to Create Change
"Unlike those of us who discuss abandoning age-based grades, or testing for compliance, or might use donor money to make schools available for parent-learning, or who might infuse schools with contemporary technologies which would allow for individualization and support for the widest range of learners, Teach for America speaks all day about high standards and classroom management and modeling a behavior system. They love tests. They prepare their teachers for traditional classrooms. They work every day to, essentially, keep the system the same because that is the system which has worked for themselves…<br />
<br />
And through it all, Kopp and friends have offered us exactly what? By grabbing not just the media attention, but a huge amount of public cash as well, what they have offered us is protection for the status quo."
tfa  irasocol  education  policy  reform  testing  agesegregation  grades  grading  individualization  wendykopp  funding  2011  schools  deschooling  teachforamerica 
february 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Passion-Based Learning
"we are assuming (1) that learning takes place best not when conceived as a preparation for life but when it occurs in the context of actually living, (2) that each learner ultimately must organize his own learning in his own way, (3) that "problems" & personal interests as well as "subjects" form a realistic structure by which to organize learning experiences, (4) that students are capable of directly & authentically participating in the intellectual & social life of their community, (5) that they should do so, and (6) that the community badly needs them."

—Alan Shapiro & Neil Postman 1969-1970

"We expect kids to learn to read by giving them meaningless exercises & meaningless stories. [examples]…& yet, we dismiss almost everything about their world - their interests, the things they most wonder about, the things they need to know, they way they need to move. We act not just as if we are disinterested, but as if we profoundly distrust kids, & really don't like them very much"
education  pedagogy  passion  alanshapiro  neilpostman  irasocol  deschooling  unschooling  teaching  learning  lcproject  tcsnmy  howwelearn  projectbasedlearning  cv  schools  schooling  interestdriven  community  trust  pbl 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Ira David Socol on Teach for America, KIPP Schools, and Reforming Education
"Education ‘as we know it’ is about social reproduction. We are trying to produce students who are “just like the teachers.” And there is a sad feedback loop in this, educators see, in the students who succeed in these reproductive schools, people just like themselves.<br />
But we need to be better than that…because our society needs to change, because it is changing, and schools need to support that.

But it is very hard for teachers to support learning which does not look like their own learning. Very hard. It requires levels of tolerance, of empathy, which are rare. It requires flexibility and a dramatic change in the role of the teacher. And it requires information and communication technologies which can offer pathways that the teacher can not.

It also requires more respect for teachers, more freedom for teachers, and much more support, in terms of ongoing educational opportunities and much better initial teacher training."
education  technology  teaching  learning  reform  irasocol  flexibility  tcsnmy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  policy  socialreproduction  empathy  patience  agesegregation  pedagogy 
february 2011 by robertogreco
SLA, 3i, Finding Common Ground and Looking Backward to Go Forward. - Practical Theory
"In reading those documents, you can see the valiant struggle to create something meaningful and powerful and democratic for students in the school. Kids and teachers made decisions together... classes were purely democratically chosen... students powerfully owned their learning. But I also read some of the same problems that we've seen in varying degrees at SLA. Student motivation to make those decisions or find learning on their own waxed and waned.... figuring out what to do when given ownership and freedom was hard... and maintaining the spirit of the revolution, so to speak, could be exhausting."
education  pedagogy  inspiration  irasocol  inquiry  chrislehmann  alanshapiro  neilpostman  tcsnmy  lcproject  schools  schooldesign  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  democracy  democratic  teaching  learning  teachingasasubversiveactivity  3iprogram  newrochellehighschool  1970s  1980s  policy  cv  fatigue  burnout  criticalthinking  meaning  meaningfulness  empowerment  identity  slowlearning  charlesweingartner  flexibility  respect  curriculum  2011  revolution 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Are 1:1 tech initiatives the wrong kind of reform? « Teaching as a dynamic activity
"In a discussion I had with Russ Goerend several weeks ago, he noted that he and I are both 4:1. The rhetoric of 1:1 often focuses on the “real world”.  Unfortunately, 1:1 is not real world.  As more and more computing becomes cloud based, having one machine is less and less common.  Instead, Russ had the idea to have access to multiple devices in schools – laptops, netbooks, desktops, ipods, ipod touches, etc.  Then students can learn how to pick the best tool for the job.  Furthermore, students learn how to harness cloud computing so that they can access content and create from multiple devices.  Lastly, our conversation noted how cell phones and other mobile platforms have invaded adults’ free time.  That is, as access to email and other work oriented apps have become mobile, people haven’t worked less, they’ve actually worked more.  Why would we want to contribute to the disappearance of childhood by asking our students to take up the same yoke."
technology  educon  russgoerend  irasocol  1to1  4:1  jerridkruse  edtech  schools  realworld  tcsnmy  1:1 
february 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The View from Here
What do you see when you look at a school? What are the clues to the education happening inside? What is happening in the corridors?…What is on the walls?…Are punishments permanent?…Questions, not Answers…Are students moving toward trust and control of their own learning?…Are there bells?…More rules than suggestions? Comfort and joy…"
learning  irasocol  schooldesign  schools  education  lcproject  tcsnmy  student-centered  teaching 
february 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: A Middle School that Works [Project-based everything, individually crafted, team focused, individual education plans for all, "extra" curricular]
"The middle school is really just junior high school continued, & that was always a bad idea. Kids stumble through a bizarrely carved up yet age-dependent curriculum, & nothing could be less appropriate. There is no age range w/ a greater range of individual skills no matter the birth date, & there is no age range where getting kids interested in school is harder…kids 11-14 have a million things, really important things, to learn - about themselves, society, life, their bodies, & almost none of those things are taught in schools.

Meanwhile, the grades, subject areas, sports teams, honor rolls - even corridors - of middle school are essentially designed (a) to encourage bullying, & (b) to make kids see school as worthless & irrelevant.

…divide Middle School Grades into 9 large, & 3 "mini" project-based experiences…which kids choose. Completely interdisciplinary…

Kids would pick three 10-week experiences & 1 shorter experience each year, and that is what they would do all day."
irasocol  education  progressive  tcsnmy  lcproject  cv  teaching  projectbasedlearning  student-centered  projects  middleschool  juniorhigh  gamechanging  change  realreform  learning  adolescence  schools  schooldesign  individualized  teams  collaboration  collaborative  pbl 
january 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Toolbelt Theory for Everyone
"The only way to allow students to assemble this essential toolbelt for information and communication is to to throw open your classroom and let the world in. How will your students know which calendar works for them - the one on their phone, Google Calendar with SMS appointment texting, Microsoft Outlook, or any of a dozen paper systems unless you allow them to try them out? How will your students know whether they 'get' a novel better by listening to an audiobook, or reading it on paper, or using text-to-speech, if you don't let them experience all repeatedly and help them decide? Will their choice be the same when they are reading history texts? Math texts? Again, how will they know? How will they know which is the best way for them to write, by hand (either on paper or on a tablet system), by keyboard (and which keyboard), or by voice, if they do not get to try out all the kinds of writing they need to do with all these tools?"

[See also: http://es.slideshare.net/irasocol/toolbelt-theory ]
tools  assistivetechnology  technology  education  accessibility  irasocol  onlinetoolkit  toolbelttheory  learning  tcsnmy  cv  teaching  unschooling  deschooling  onesizefitsall  individualization  individuality  whatworks  toolbelts  environment  skills  learningtolearn  2008 
december 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The Third Technology
"I began my week in Virginia talking about "Colonialism in Education." The idea that we must not insist that the only way for children to succeed is to become clones of the educational policy makers. & I ended the week talking mostly about architecture & ecological systems & environments. Because this "third technology" - that environment - enframes both what we - adults in school - do, & what students see & imagine. If a class has desks in rows, only a few things can happen. If a class has a variety of spaces, many more things can. If classrooms have open views of the school & outside, learning is seen in a continuum, if a classroom has paper covering the door window & drawn blinds - we are telling children that learning starts & stops in a defined space. & if kids are comfortable they will imagine, dream, & investigate. & if they are not, they will resist & shut down."
irasocol  schooldesign  environmentaldesign  design  schools  learning  lcproject  tcsnmy  architecture  thirdteacher  reggioemilia 
november 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Of time and technology...
"So when I sat in an elementary school last week and saw a lesson on time and quarter hours I wondered why we were still doing that - other than, in this case, mandates from the Commonwealth of Virginia? So I asked teachers sitting near me, and only one in five still tended to use those old terms.

There is a lovely antiquity, I suppose, in the nature of that circular clock. But it encourages imprecion and confusion, and barely is used anymore in a functional way.

So why are we teaching it?"
time  language  math  teaching  antiquity  tradition  irasocol  timekeeping 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Are We Preparing Developers or Producers? « Venture Pragmatist
"We simply don’t value, in terms of policy and funding, the very things that are imperative to our economic future. But one thing’s for sure—we’ll be incredibly prepared for a bygone industrial age."

[See Ira Socol's comment, which is just as important as the post itself.]
society  politics  policy  us  learning  schools  poverty  children  parenting  economics  funding  irasocol  chadratliff  reform  systems  germany  china  aristocracy  2010  healthcare  families  employment  education 
november 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Designed to Fail - Education in America: Part Five
"If those who seek to follow the Arne Duncan model of school reform want to argue with me about the inherent colonialism/racism of their plans, then perhaps they should begin by discussing why they won't embrace "real reform" - the re-design of our educational system.…No tests. No grading. No age-based grades. Few classrooms. Few classes. Teacher and learner agency. No core curriculum. No particular time schedule. The complete opposite of RheEducation…The concepts were student empowerment, teacher freedom, community, and authentic assessment…The political problem is that embracing these known understandings of education requires abandoning the filtering system of "education" we have used in America since the Civil War. Embracing these ideas would require that we - as a society - elevate teachers in pay and respect to or above the level of lawyers, bankers, and perhaps medical doctors."
irasocol  education  history  us  newrochellehighschool  grades  grading  openschools  schools  agesegregation  studentdirected  freedom  equality  elitism  seymourpapert  inequality  wealth  standards  standardizedtesting  larrycuban  markzuckerberg  billgates  elibroad  dianeravitch  society  perpetuation  culture  power  policy  politics  children  parenting  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  waitingforsuperman  williamalcott  incomegap  teaching  learning  assessment  neilpostman  unions  salaries  racism  michellerhee  charterschools 
september 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Designed to Fail - Education in America: Part Four
"By establishing "measuring sticks" which declare their own superiority, the wealthy and powerful - the Ivy Leaguersof America - get to win before the race they so enjoy is run. And by winning, they get to preserve the fruits of victory for themselves and their offspring - the best schools, the Ivy League educations, the top-paying jobs in the economy, and the agenda-setting jobs in government…

While "white" kids get creativity and stories in their early grades, teaching them about the world and giving them dreams, "poor" kids get KIPP and scripted instruction, chants and memorizations. If they ever get past that, they find themselves so far behind their "white" peers that continuing the race seems genuinely hopeless."
irasocol  education  us  history  wealth  power  inequality  woodrowwilson  dianeravitch  ellwoodcubberley  henrybarnard  disparity  johntaylorgatto  thomasjefferson  kipp  standards  standardizedtesting  perpetuation  colonialism  unschooling  deschooling  policy  politics  lcproject  waitingforsuperman  learning  sorting  teaching  incomegap  assessment  grades  grading  culture  society 
september 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Designed to Fail - Education in America: Part Two
"It was one thing for Henry Barnard to design an education system which would divide American children up in the most effective way for capitalist industrialism. It was one thing to import a system from authoritarian Prussia designed to foster compliant nationalism and train imperial soldiers [1]. But we would not be living with that system today if not for a system of religious and national mythology embracing that system and making it seem the inevitable result of a progressive, God-inspired nation."

"The power of this civil religion is that, in education as in economics, it converts arguments for change from political disagreement into heresy."

"for it is Cubberley's "victory" over Montessori and Dewey which permanized the system, which created the canonical text under which almost all of our school's operate."
irasocol  education  us  history  publicschools  schools  schooling  calvinism  ellwoodcubberley  harlondalton  johntaylorgatto  americanmyths  montessori  johndewey  danielboone  policy  classideas  deschooling  unschooling  religion  assimilation  meltingpot  michellerhee  henrybarnard  colonialism  lcproject 
september 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Designed to Fail - Education in America: Part Three
"to understand the debate in America today you need to think of two names: Ellwood Cubberley and Rudyard Kipling. Mann is sweet, Dewey brilliant, Barnard essential to the process, but it is Cubberley who made the US ed system virtually unchangeable & Kipling who may offer explanation re: why?"

"Just how enduring this inevitability is can easily be seen in both education & political spheres. In education "we" continue to pursue the scientific & the "proper technique" (though we now say "evidence-based practice") despite never finding an actual way to measure human learning."

"The problem, then as now, is unequal beginnings on that path to either Americanness or Whiteness. Not only is a single conception of life, of government, of learning, of behavior, declared "correct" and thus all others declared "incorrect""
irasocol  education  history  rudyardkipling  edwardsaid  johntaylorgatto  ellwoodcubberley  johndewey  horacemann  schools  us  policy  classideas  woodrowwilson  colonialism  michellerhee  markzuckerberg  terryeagleton  tfa  danielwillingham  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  cv  teachforamerica 
september 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Designed to Fail - Education in America: Part One
"In a time when our experts in education range from the operator of a software company, to a talk show host, to a Chicago businessman of no great success, to a woman from a wealthy family who went to an Ivy League school and met powerful friends, it is important to understand what the educational system in the United States was designed to do, and why it was designed to do that."
irasocol  education  history  us  williamalcott  horacemann  henrybarnard  schooling  schools  classideas  industrialization  industrialrevolution 
september 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: On KIPP, and the question, does philosophy matter? [Previously: http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2010/08/what-kipp-academies-do.html]
"Bart Simpson once said, "We're behind, and we're going to catch up by going slower?" It is a fair statement of too much of what I see in education today. If the students at KIPP begin behind, I don't want to start by "whitening" them, I want them to begin by finding a path that allows them to use the knowledge and skills they have (which are considerable, in my experiences with this population) to rush ahead. Because while KIPP stops to "whiten" (I know they disagree with this term, but it is what SLANT is to me) the wealthier, whiter peer group is not standing around waiting for them. While KIPP stops to teach chanting, the wealthier, whiter peer group is not standing around waiting them. That group is rushing ahead, learning creativity, real collaboration, real leadership, and leaving the KIPP cohort chasing that for the rest of their lives."
irasocol  education  policy  2010  arneduncan  barackobama  kipp  rttt  standardization  disparity  desegregation  history 
september 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: What KIPP Academies do... [See also the comments and this follow-up: http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2010/09/on-kipp-and-question-does-philosophy.html]
"What research is it, Mr. President, that Secretary Duncan cites to indicate that the students of KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School deserve so much less - of life, of creativity, of respect, of freedom, than your daughter's classmates at Sidwell?<br />
<br />
No Mr. President, KIPP Academies are not innovation. They are the oldest colonialist form of oppression in the school manual. They are institutions of the elite's cultural power, and their purpose is to protect the elites by ensuring that underclass children will never catch up.<br />
<br />
But, if you really want to prove me wrong, send your daughters to a KIPP Academy. Your i3 grants mean there should be one coming to the White House neighbourhood soon."
irasocol  policy  education  arneduncan  barackobama  kipp  rttt  standardization  creativity  respect  freedom  equality  disparity  2010 
september 2010 by robertogreco
3I Program ["Born in 1970 at a time of liberal experimentation in education, New Rochelle High School's college-like "school within a school," the Program for Inquiry, Involvement, and Independent Study…"]
"…died in 1983 during recessionary budget cutbacks and a conservative emphasis on back-to-basics schooling. It fueled fierce loyalty from its students, parents, and faculty -- and eventually fierce opposition from much of the Board of Education that funded it.

… differed dramatically from the regular school program. Physically, it was a school within a school, beginning in temporary classrooms on a football field, then moving into its high-school-building "White Room" lounge with adjoining classrooms, and finally acquiring its own science lab and art studio. Philosophically, 3Is maintained that "school can be an activity, not simply a place; that school should emphasize learning how to learn, not just teaching; that significant learning can take place anywhere, not only in a classroom; [and] that such learning is more likely to occur if the learners actively involve themselves in making decisions about their education and are not always told." [via @irasocol]
3iprogram  newrochellehighschool  1970s  irasocol  lcproject  tcsnmy  inquiry  self-directedlearning  empowerment  neilpostman  alanshapiro  donbaughman  involvement  independence  learning  education  schools  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  history  teaching 
august 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Classroom Changers
"School (in North America and Europe) is starting soon. So I just wanted to offer five quick "classroom changing" solutions... 1. The Backchannel… 2. Text-To-Speech… 3. Spellchecking for the rest of us… 4. Speech Recognition… 5. Do Not Disturb" [Bookmarked mostly for the tools that it points to. I've used many of these approaches before (often with other tools), all great advice.]
irasocol  edtech  classideas  texttospeech  backchannel  spellcheck  speechrecognition  teaching  tcsnmy  resources  specialed 
august 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Teachers, Tenure, Transformation
"There's a simple fact at work here - when the teachers' unions operate "negatively" it is usually because they are acting like an industrial union. And they are acting like an industrial union because the work environment is, unfortunately, industrial in too many ways - and becoming more so by the minute at the hands of the very people who dislike the unions (under Duncan's regime teachers will be punished for any "defective" products which reach the end of the assembly line. See Rhode Island).

Change the environment, empower teachers, allow them to be the professionals they are, help them to get better, give them the tools they need, pay them like other professionals, and the unions will change too, as they respond to a changed work environment."
irasocol  teachers  unions  tenure  policy  professionalism  empowerment  reform  salaries 
august 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Reading is NOT the goal
""Reading is defined as getting information from a recorded source into your head, Writing is defined as getting information from your head into a form which others can access." And to which I might have added, "Arithmetic is defined as having a common system for sharing quantifiable data.""

"reason US standardized test results collapse after 4th grade...tests simply ask kids to regurgitate processes we've been banging into them for first 4 years of school. They do that well enough. But the processes really don't connect to most on functional level, so when they take later content-driven evaluation tests, they fail, because they are not accessing content...only know how to "read" to "read." I see this all the time, quick, "fluent" readers who have no idea what they've just read, or why. Kids who form letters perfectly but who can't express themselves. Kids w/ memorized math facts but no ability to leap into algebra or beyond...

So please, when your kids have trouble w/ "skills" of school, offer them way around, path to "why." Give them digital reading system & let them access what's of interest...Turn on speech recognition & let them communicate w/ world. Give them a simple way to create math symbols & perform calculations, & allow them to see what math can mean."
irasocol  learning  education  alternative  math  mathematics  memorization  understanding  schools  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  text  ebooks  audiobooks  literacy  reading  writing 
august 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Of Cognition and Memory, Technology and Cities, Learning and Schools. Part I
"what would it look like if we're enabling next instead of present?…What happens to cognition & collective memory, when every student at every age has phone in hand linking them universally & able to connect intimately & via projection?…augmented reality. To ask any question of anyone? These are present, not yet ubiquitous, technologies. As they appear & cognition changes…what do we educators do? What happens to teaching? spaces? curriculum?…Forget "no teaching wall," is there even "teaching floor"—& what does that mean?…age-based grades vanish…subjects…very notions of "student" & "teacher" altered. As info becomes more free, expertise becomes more distributed & controls of grade-level-expectations, standardized tests & textbooks become irrelevant. Does fixed time schedule survive? Is it possible to imagine school which prepares students for their future? Which operates w/, & builds skills for flexibility which humans require if they are to succeed when world changes?"
irasocol  ubicomp  education  future  futures  learning  explodingschool  adamgreenfield  cityofsound  urbancomputing  urban  urbanism  connectivity  handhelds  connectivism  cognition  collectivememory  cities  memory  technology  comments  tcsnmy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  distributed  everyware 
july 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Lord of the Flies: How Adults Create Bullying
"When Lord of the Flies is taught this way, it encourages the adults in school to continue to behave as they do, and blames children, and their inherently evil nature, for all that is wrong in society. This, of course, is the tack taken by administrators such as Anthony Orsini who claims to run the Lord of the Flies Middle School in Ridgewood, NJ. And it lies at the heart of how bullying is usually combatted in our schools.



In other words, what if these children were viewed as products of their society? What if what is being revealed is not the "nature of children," but the most trained behaviours. What if Ralph can be seen, as the story begins, as "natural childhood" - trusting, cooperative, believing in fairness, and what emerges later on is the British aristocracy - brutal, bullying, uniform in appearance, colonialist, and lacking empathy or even pity?

What might that suggest about school-based anti-bullying efforts?

...

So as you read Lord of the Flies with your students this coming year, ask them to ask different questions. And when you see bullies in your school, ask where they have learned that behaviour.

Children do learn, after all. And mostly, they learn by watching us."
empathy  lordoftheflies  williamgolding  teaching  education  behavior  modeling  society  irasocol  bullying  bullies  tcsnmy  brutality  colonialism  literature  classideas  naturenurture  nature  humans  children  boys 
july 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: What I wish Bill Gates had learned about education from Microsoft
"What most frustrates me is that Gates doesn't even seem to have learned the lessons which his company could have taught him. It is a classic case of a smart person letting what he doesn't know overwhelm what he does, which is turning out sad for all of us....

What are the Microsoft Lessons for Education? 1. Finding trumps knowing ... 2. Learning doesn't take place via lessons ... 3. There are loads of ways to do things... 4. People fall behind and they race ahead, where you are at any moment really doesn't matter... 5. The blank sheet is better... 6. It takes educators to let learners use the tools in front of them."
billgates  education  technology  microsoft  tcsnmy  lcproject  policy  influence  understanding  learning  experience  rttt  nclb  gatesfoundation  money  power  ignorance  tracking  standardization  agesegregation  standards  accountability  2010  open  cheating  choice  individualized  business  elitism  irasocol 
july 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The Question of Attention
"Is your ability to attend to random flashing red rectangles a fair measuring system? Well, that's what always makes research funny. In order to quantify the human experience in a "valid" way you have to strip it down to a point where the experience itself is completely out of context and thus meaningless.

This "out of context research" is why, for example, I see so many high school graduates these days who can read perfectly fluently (which "research" says is important) while not comprehending one word. And, in the case of "attention," it is why we have so many smart people suddenly declaring that they are unable to "walk and chew gum at the same time.""

[One of several insightful posts about multitasking lately that move beyond the blanket good or bad.]
multitasking  attention  irasocol  learning  focus  research  bias  subtlety  singletasking  monotasking 
july 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Learning the Names of the World
"watching World Cup 2010...hoping we are slowly moving towards solving long-term pet peeve...Calling other nations by bizarre, antique, mis-names...works against international understanding...

Because, lets be clear, there is no nation which calls itself "Germany," or even "Italy." No "Allemagne" or "Angleterre." Not even a "Brazil" or a "Netherlands." For that matter, there are no cities named "Vienna," or "Rome," or "Londres," either.

All of these misspellings and mispronunciations are ancient hangovers of beliefs in limited language learning capability and in homeland superiority. We didn't want to struggle with learning names in different languages, and we didn't think it was important.

But we're all part of one big globe these days, like it or not, and it is time we started thinking it's important. Especially in schools."
english  geography  irasocol  classideas  language  languages  identity  naming  countries  cities  names 
july 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: A Half-Dozen Things Your Middle School Should be "Teaching"
"My experience in school from the age of, say 11 or 12, to 14 often leads me to the conclusion that the best "middle school" would be almost no school at all. Kids have so much to learn during this period of their lives, but almost none of "that" is academic. They need to learn how to function as independent "adults." They need to learn their bodies. They need to discover the world. They need to pursue passions of all kinds. They need to learn how to hurt and how to recover. And they need to begin to imagine their future.
irasocol  middleschool  education  adolescence  tcsnmy  whatmatters  teaching  learning  unschooling  deschooling  classideas  change  curriculum  self  cv  choice  handson  projectbasedlearning  control  communication  topost  toshare  pbl 
june 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Returning School to Humanity
"we expect students to be "on time" not because it is educationally important [NBIIEI]...but because we are training workers to be on time. We create "standards" for each grade level NBIIEI...but because we are teaching single-tasking & work conformity. We test individually, blocking collaboration (which we call "cheating") NBIIEI...but because we are manufacturing workers for assembly line.

While people worry about testing averages, about whether schools should be run as public goods or for corporate profit, about number of school days, about what topics to emphasize, the real question, as the 21st Century rolls on, needs to be the very designed structure of our schools. They were created by a certain kind of society for a certain kind of economic reality. Whether that was ever good or bad is a question for another time, but for today I believe we need to begin to return our schools back to the "natural humanity" of the time before the assembly line began to rule our lives."
irasocol  schools  prussia  us  history  industrialization  education  learning  tcsnmy  change  reform  unschooling  deschooling  policy  progressive  individualized  standards  standardizedtesting  cheating  collaboration  factoryschools  factories  apprenticeships  mentoring  mentorship  hiddencurriculum  curriculum  rules  grades  grading  gradelevels  purpose  taskoriented 
june 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The Liars and the Fools
"Testing, as The New York Times declares, is learning. Microsoft's definition of academics is all that matters. Teachers know nothing, educational researchers know nothing, all knowledge is actually in the hands of a bunch of businesspeople who, from Arne Duncan to Bill Gates to Meg Whitman, to Mike Bloomberg, who have declared themselves our saviors. God help our children."
irasocol  testing  standardizedtesting  assessment  learning  teaching  schools  arneduncan  billgates  megwhitman  michaelbloomberg  education  policy 
april 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: "Invisible Technology"?
"So, even if I can not actually read alphabetical text, it really helps to know how it works. Even I can't subtract a 2-digit number from a 2-digit number on paper (and I typically cannot), it helps me to have an idea of how that happens. And even if you are not a computer programmer it would help if you could see the file system on the iPad, so you might grow up to be the kind of person who could design a better file system.

Thus I don't want technology to be invisible at all, especially not in schools. Right now we spend years teaching kids about the functional technologies of our past, and, whether we continue that or not, we need to teach them something about the functional technologies of their future.

Remember, "invisible" is "unknown." And "unknown" can not really be our goal in education, can it?"
irasocol  technology  edtech  schools  education  tcsnmy  chrislehmann  invisibility 
april 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: An Easter Monday Proclamation of Liberation
"When "reformers" in America today talk about education, they are not discussing students, children, learning or development - they are talking about political economics. They are interested in "efficiencies" not to make schools better, but to make government smaller. They are too often interested in Charter Schools not as innovative examples which lead to new thinking, but as way to bust some of last remaining American unions. They are interested in "choice" not for opportunity, but to continue vicious racial & class divides in US. Yes Michelle Rhee, Bill Gates, Joel Klein, Mike Bloomberg, Arne Duncan, Paul Vallas, Chris Christie - I am talking about you...teachers, who have more education behind them & work longer hours & are far more essential to general society than lawyers, get less respect & much less income. And we often build schools as concrete block bunkers because it is cheap, while our restaurants are far more engagingly designed - thus we are fat & stupid."
irasocol  economics  education  school  policy  reform  2010  us  priorities  billgates  michellerhee  arneduncan  joelklein  inequity  money  politics  change  gamechanging  learning 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Children Are Not the Enemy: Learning with Ira : Dream With Me
"So, when I read Ira’s book, I am reminded that our own educational failures of policy, institutional capabilities, imagination, and management create and sustain a schooling culture in which our most fragile and vulnerable learners become the enemy. Thankfully, I am also reminded through Glasser’s work and my mentor’s long-ago words that we educators have far more choice and power in our actions than we sometimes acknowledge. While we can’t change how other people feel or think, we can make explicit in all we do that the Iras of our world deserve the best we have to offer- a place at the learning table within a community of their peers and committed, thoughtful educators. We can see all our young people through a capacity rather than deficit lens. In Ira’s young world, Alan Shapiro made a critical difference by seeing him, not as the enemy, but as a young person with value. Ira became one of the lucky ones."
irasocol  teaching  schools  learning  education  tcsnmy  lcproject  change  reform  students 
april 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The School I'd Like
"No grades, No grades: The 2 "grading systems" would be gone...destructive & useless. I imagine a K-12 school...w/ 2 divisions: K-4 & 5-12. W/in these divisions children would progress at own rates & would work w/ groupings based on interests & capabilities...No subject divisions: Everything a student can study can, & should, bring every "subject" into play...Technological Freedom: students in "my school" would have tech freedom...encouraged to discover best ways to use media & ICT to support their learning, to build their "Toolbelts."...A part of the community: Students need some separation from "society." They need to be in a safe place where mistakes & failure are fine. But they cannot be "apart" from their society...A willingness to change...illustrates the trap so many educators fall into. They build, or enter, a structure, & then accept that structure as a "natural" & unchangeable experience. It should be neither.
irasocol  tcsnmy  lcproject  schools  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  grades  grading  assessment  departments  self-directedlearning  self-directed  individualized  education  learning  schooldesign 
march 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: The Parent Trap
"parental choice often works against child best interests. Parents pick schools based on status, on homogeneity, on sports, on reputation. The quite broken school systems of Northern Ireland are the result of "parental choice,"...
education  irasocol  policy  choice  schoolchoice  publicschools  northernireland  parenting  segregation  selfishness  studentdirected  student-centered  student-led  tcsnmy  learning  schooling  schools  society 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Why is everyone an expert on education?: Series « Human
"So what is being learnt when education is run and organised as a science? That your performances measure you – that you are quantifiable. You learn how to see yourself as a particular type of student/teacher, and grow to see this as ‘normal’ – the business of schools becomes normative measuring and pedagogy becomes sterile, limited, controlling and superficial. But gee it looks clean! ... Do you want to live in a world full of docile, easily managed consumers, uncritically bent on amassing wealth and lacking the capacity to perceive reality beyond the personal ambition “as long as they are OK”, the kind produced by schooling and rewards of (primarily) individual effort? We can’t value highly individualised effort and rewards (hey, the government wants me to rank students!) then, confusingly, expect the kids to be highly ‘collaborative’."
education  history  policy  us  change  progressive  traditional  tcsnmy  irasocol  schools  schooling  cooperation  collaboration  future  unschooling  deschooling  rewards  testing  standards  standardizedtesting  ranking  assessment  success  consumerism  economics  globalwarming 
january 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Answering questions with questions...
"child faced with "name the countries" question or "fill out the map" worksheet needs to ask, not answer. That new question - "What do we mean when we say "country" or "nation"?" is the really valuable topic, in a way a list of memorized names will never be. And it will introduce students to the vast differences in the ways of human thinking. The child in London understands "country" quite differently than the child in KC, & neither is right. Just as "democracy" is different for the child in Dublin than the child in Boise...Even when we start adding 2+2 different cultural rules come into play. If we ignore this, we are training our students in ignorance.

This isn't post-modernism run amok. Rather, it is training our students to understand the complexities of the world. It is essential. Hell, even business schools now understand this. So next time you ask a question, don't look for an answer, look for the questions which challenge our knowledge of our world. That's real education."
irasocol  education  criticalthinking  questioning  rotelearning  tcsnmy  democracy  geography  knowledge  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  rote 
january 2010 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Crossing America: An Education
"Educational "reformers" and administrators rarely consider environment as a prime issue in learning, consigning the idea to "primitive thought," "pre-rational thought," and "pre-scientific thought." After all, Mike Bloomberg and Michelle Rhee will tell you, there's only one right way to add 2+2 or spell "tomorrow."
policy  standardization  nature  nuture  environment  geography  schools  onesizefitsall  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  learning  tcsnmy  independentschools  publicschools  education  us  irasocol 
december 2009 by robertogreco
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